She smiled, as the water tickled her feet, just like how a mother amuses her child. She felt relaxed, the weight of her being comfortably settled on the sand. She looked on towards the horizon, thoughtless but content.

He smiled, spotting her at a distance on the beach. He felt relaxed, seeing a sweet smile adorn her face. He looked on towards her, thoughtful but content.

She didn’t have to look, for she recognised the silence of his steps. But just as the sand lets the steps be seen as footprints, she saw him and smiled.

“May I sit? Or do you wish to be alone?” he asked, smiling.

“Alone? The ocean could be alone even when the crowds flog its contours. Solitude is but a state of the mind.” Her soft laugh anchored him to the sand.

.

“You seem so distant… Eyes de-focused, gazing at something I can’t even see. Sometimes I really want to know what’s going on in your head.”

“Ha, I wish I knew that myself!” Her words sounded amused.

“You seem to validate the fact that girls are difficult to understand.” They laughed, eyes fixed, away from each other, but together at the horizon.

.

“What man would you choose, if ever?” He asked, in the voice of a child scrutinizing a particularly charming shell, trying to discover the parts in it he could not see.

“Well, any man.”

“Any?”

“Any man…

Any man who watches me with gentle intrigue, as if I was the sparkles in an ocean. Any man, who wonders and wishes to know what mysteries lie in the shimmer of the sparkles, adorning the undulations of Time. Any man, who reaches early, to watch the sun dawn for morning to rise by the beach, and waits till the dusk yawns for the night to sleep.

Any man, who scales the sandy shores from a distance, never breaching beyond the waves, but waiting to touch the sand… moistened by the ocean’s tears with his own bare skin.

The one who yearns to approach the waters and fathom its colours and depths but instead chooses to let the waves come forth and touch him, or recede away softly. And then, treasures the figureless stones, the empty shells, some smoothed by struggle, some carved with stories… he treasures them, for they were left behind by the receding waves.

Any man whose footprints the sands recognise, for he has pressed them with the patience and silence of his steps. Any man who begins to hear the words in the soft gurgling of water, who feels the joy, the laughter in the breeze, who understands the opaqueness of the shifting colours and the translucence of the tranquil water.

The one who waits… for he has faith that, to him, the ocean promises peace, and love, solace and belongingness, caressing waves to dissolve all grief, and fathomless depths of chronicles to explore. The one who knows that the ocean shall be for him, an endless beauty, a joy forever.”

Her voice seemed to him, a song from the depths of the ocean…

He looked at her, eyes defocussed, for she seemed to him a distant sparkle. 

He looked at the sparkle in her eyes and smiled, for they seemed to him an ocean of riddles. 

They left the ocean to muse over the sunken impression on the sand where they sat. The impressions sat apart, a foot of sand between them. And the waves silently washed over, hoping to let the distance fade. 

***

21 thoughts on “A Foot of Sand

  1. Great use of metaphor..!! I had to read twice to understand the depth of words, which I thoroughly enjoyed. What an imagination..!! 👌👌👏👏

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      1. Yes, that happens with me too. I have difficulty in understanding some of your 4-line lyrics, then I translate some words, but then I realize the crux is lost. So I read twice, thrice and if I don’t understand, I just note down new words. But those I understand, I like the way you weave words and tell something deep in only four lines. (y)

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      2. i’ve always been afraid that very less people understand what i write… i realised that the way i write is very obscure…
        but that’s because maybe, i always considered poetry to be riddles… you know, like brain teasers that you can work inside your head with…
        i love drawing new perspectives from poems and seeing everything differently.
        What allured me to your work was the simplicity and yet the profound depth in it, something i have myself never been able to achieve. I really admire you for that…

        but thanks… i love it when someone really reads with insight. It’s a pleasure to have a reader like you. 🙂

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      3. Same here. 🙂
        Yes, poetry is experienced best when it is a brain teaser. You are doing it right. I try to write it that way, but the lack of vocabulary makes me write simple actually. You are doing great. I am trying to write in brain teasing way and I admire your work for that.

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      4. I have to say I disagree…poetry is a subjective experience…riddles r not the purpose of poetry and don’t always improve it-confusion and beauty don’t always mix…poetry is above all communication…self expression..obscurity is not a necessity. I believe the best and most enduring poets r direct and honest.

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    1. there is, i think, a whole lot of difference between two kinds of ‘riddlers’…
      there’s one kind who like to see people guessing and being frustrated because they cannot see the simple meanings in the dense fog of opaque words… they like to keep people in the holds of confusion and uncertainity.

      Then there’s another, the ones who have always seen their truth and simplicity marred and abused… this makes them feel fragile and insecure. The skin of an infant is pure and unblemished, and therefore it needs to be covered, protected in the folds of security and the mother’s warmth.
      For this kind of ‘riddlers’, poetry is but a call into the void, and a search for someone who wants to embrace their words rather than use them. The ‘arrogant confusion’ is a wall that lets only true concern, care and understanding inside…

      that, is the difference.

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      1. But it may also dissuade those who carry great warmth, love and truth..litmus tests exclude as well as include..only an infant requires the protection u intimate..but infants must grow and thrive and that requires exposing yourself to many experiences, many people-pleasant and painful ones…if u have only a tiny aperture u will restrict much light..and truth is not marred nor abuse it is textured and seasoned and refined..truth too is a changeable quotient–what is true for a child is not true for an adult…children are vulnerable yet depend on others to protect them, adults must make those efforts and decisions on their own. The worm doesn’t fly, the butterfly does..every experience we have must be accepted, embraced and incorporated into who we are…yes, even the ones we find painful. Pain, frustration, isolation are great teachers..

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  2. Hopefully the lessons we learn are good and healthy ones. Life is no hothouse..it a raging torrent, and unpredictable intruding force…a caccoon can be a womb or a prison..there is no experience that can truly destroy who u r unless u allow it..I’m an Aries, so my approach has been to experiment with everything, overlook nothing.. Yes, I’ve been wounded and badly broken–but when I heal those injured places are that much stronger..Sis, there IS a touch of exclusion and prejudice in what u say here..yes, an arrogance..what creates it is likely fear and mistrust–not good foundations for any expressions..u write eloquently but it is a rationale filled with long symbolic references and metaphors..but a curious detachment as well–“they, ones, them”.. U don’t directly put yourself in any of it. It is as tho u are lecturing and proselytizing..and I have lived and experienced much more than u..yes..that’s true. ur life has just begun but u speak like a pedagogue.. As we age we learn wisdom, or at least (hopefully) we learn what isn’t wisdom.. U have many life experiences ahead of u-and I guarantee, u will see these current writings in a far more expansive light. I’m not demeaning u, just telling u a truth everyone of us has grown to learn–the 1st mate doesn’t captain the ship–she’s there to learn how it handles..

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