I see this was written for a club challenge so perhaps some of it is not true but...for some reason I think at least 75% is drawn from persomal experience...
I guess I can say I've crossed one too many oceans,
realising too late that all this time, they were merely
backwaters of your beaten-up subconscious.
I have read this first stanza over and over and..I'm not sure if it should be subconscious or subconcsiiousness...I get mixed up with nouns/adjectives...whatever...maybe ask someone else?
You watched my shadow growing, but I didn't know
that trying to reach the horizon is as stupid as
trying to touch the specks and blues of the sky.
Are you speaking of someone who was distant in your life here...I'm not too sure but I think you are maybe disappointed with this person?
I bent over the water, waiting for it to swallow me
whole; I saw myself instead. A sunken boat:
This part I absolutely adored..the reflection of yourself in the water can make all these things seem possible!
By then I thought I knew of life and death more than
the dead themselves ever knew. Perhaps it was
the light that blinded me, or the lack thereof
that made me glimpse a flicker of paradise.
This has me definately guessing because...I'm not sure what you mean exactly...I think the light is a metaphor for something you hoped would eventuate?
at the precipice of a boardwalk - brown and
I like how you described the boardwalk here...unvarnished = uncared for...
I felt a warmth birthed inside of me - crying
in my chest, its tears sliding downward,
evaporating at the same time, upward,
until I am filled with it. And I felt whole.
I guess I felt surrender, and I thought,
'this is how it must feel like - to be alive'
Ending left me wondering...for some reason I thing you still felt unfulfilled....just my thoughts..
What a great first stanza
To take something as vast as an ocean and pull it right back into something as tepid as a backwater is brilliant crafting. But it works with the subconscious part, because backwater seems more muddled, more indifferent than the magnificence of an ocean.
Then the mention of the horizon immediately makes us look out for something more, you suggest there is something better out there, yet you know you are trapped, you cannot reach it.
The pace slows right down in stanza 3, you pause, reflect upon a reflection, a sunken boat!!
Great imagery here, very clever indeed, boats should be free, limitless on oceans, unless like you feel yourself, are sunken.
Love the break, just a reminder of the scene
Rippling (the tide)
Vanishing (your reflection, your dreams?)
Reappearing ( ^^^^)
This middle stanza is a realization of wasted years/months. You thought you knew who you were and where you were headed, yet now you feel unsure. Something has changed your mind and offered you a different path.
You then drop in the boardwalk, setting it appropriately in the scene, that is still calm and idyllic.
This is where the realization is final,
moving on to the end of the poem, where you realise you are not trapped, fate is in your hands, you just need to be prepared to make the journey.
Great piece again Xanthe, you have this amazing ability of being able to pick us up and drop us into your world momentarily,