Tied to the Ocean

Who wraps up the oceans in his cloak? -Proverbs 30:4

It’s the first week in August, prime beach season here on Long Island, leading me to contemplate the pull of the ocean on the spirit, and how it can feel like the tides of one’s soul often come to simultaneous rest and rejuvenation when in the presence of the ocean, that untamed aqueous beast of beauty.

On this subject John F. Kennedy said, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch — we are going back from whence we came.” What do you think of this quote? Do you agree? What is it about the ocean that draws you?

In my own poem “Breakable,” which was an O Magazine 2011 Selection of Original Poetry pick, the speaker notes, “There is a void in your center, /where you carry the memory of your source, /where you vaguely remember the water / running through your body.” The memory of our source, the “whence we came,” the vague memory of water running through our body… that to me is this kind of primal experience that brings us back to the beach again and again and even the shores of the Long Island Sound speak of that connection in a similar way to the shores of the Atlantic.

To add to the summer spirit of contemplation and beauty, here is some art, music and poetry specially curated for you on the theme of “Ocean.” Whether or not you are able to relax by the ocean, bay, pond or even pool this summer, may the spirit of crashing, salt-tinged inspiration be yours, and may these images, words, and sounds help inspire your vacation of the spirit.

One thought on “Tied to the Ocean

  1. “For the bounty of my blessings, oh, Lord I give you thanks”–that I live here on Long Island and have the time to really “see” and “feel” the beauty of God’s creation.

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Toad The Wet Sprocket - Walk On The Ocean

Off Connecticut Newport - William Trost Richards
Off Connecticut Newport – William Trost Richards

Sunset, 1913 - Felix Vallotton
Sunset, 1913 – Felix Vallotton


the sand dollar I have found,
are marked with little holes
in your nature,
powdered and breakable.
I feel your beauty
as I trace the patterns of your face,
and hold you from the salty grip of beachcombers.

You have been picked up many times
but never kept.
There is a void in your center,
where you carry the memory of your source,
where you vaguely remember the water
running through your body.
You wait for me to drop you where I found you.
I smooth away the gritty sediment
and see the strength in you
who have emerged from the ocean
and carry the journey on your face.

— Annabelle Moseley