Out of Depth and Seeking Ground…a poetic story of place

Out of Depth and Seeking Ground
Out of Depth and Seeking Ground

Out of Depth and Seeking Ground


The tempest waned, and she alone in an ocean,
was desperate to find hope within,
perhaps this a punishment for sins of past,
and as she looked around,
saw naught but water and horizons far,
and wondered how she would endure
against nature’s imposing will.

Alone, as never before,
afloat like a cork, yet with no salvation in sight,
she felt lowly in her plight,
lost at sea, at the whim of life,
teetering at the edge of each breath she took,
life and death a scale before her,
and hope a tedious affair,
when what could possibly restore her?

For hours the sea just rose and fell
in a gentle swell of nurture,
yet it felt not that, teetering as she was,
until a dolphin appeared, circling her frailty,
as it launched itself over her
landing with a joyous splash;
why so glum it said, so at ease within its habitat,
I am alone, a human in an ocean of water.

The dolphin considered her plight:
not meant to be here you say,
ah I see your concern,
you need water to drink, food to eat
before you sink to eternal depths.
Why yes I am no fish you see,
out of my depths, unlike you
I am not free.

Freedom calls from many voices,
and is recognized by many others,
you are as free as a being can be,
just at present in the middle of an ocean, that’s all.
But here I’ll die, without sustenance I grow weak,
and will surely drown,
as no feet upon the ground to save me,
no hope of rescue in this eternal sea.

The dolphin suddenly disappeared
and moments later returned with a small fish.
Here eat this to give you strength,
hope is all we need to find our length, our aptitude for life,
and she eat of the fish and it gave her strength,
and it gave her some hope of survival,
a land creature in an endless sea,
talking to a dopiness.

For two days that dolphin returned to feed her fish,
and from it moisture and sustenance enough to survive,
and each time she questioned how this would end,
floating is not a permanent fix, she said,
yet the dolphin replied not,
and kept her fed, her head above water,
until she could grasp her own deliverance,
accept its possibility.

She worried, she sobbed, she lost hope
and then clung to her dolphin friend,
pleading an end to her struggle,
and he just fed her, left her each time to consider an ending,
until on the evening of the second day,
she was so angry and self-pity,
she cried out his name.
Dopamine, I want to live, she cried.

Why didn’t you say so girl,
I have a friend who may help in your quest,
in the morning, when the sun bequests another day,
we shall see, if he is disposed to help your cause.
So as the sun did decide to rise,
stretching gold across the sky,
the dolphin returned with a friend: a huge whale.

Just climb aboard said the dolphin,
my friend here will deliver you to land,
where you can find your ground and be free at last;
the girl cried with joy, her salvation at hand,
and thanked that dolphin
with such joyous appreciation,
then climbed upon that whale’s back,
setting off to her deliverance.

Many hours passed
and the girl fell fast asleep upon the whale’s back,
he, so gentle in his movement,
and when she awoke, found herself upon a shore,
white sands as pristine as any she had ever seen.
She looked around a long beach before her,
a small island brimming with coconut palms;
she was saved, and at last, free.


Now upon and island,
the girl looked around,
her feet now firmly planted on the ground,
but was she free, was this ground her salvation?
Coconut palms swayed in the breeze,
beauty like a dressing upon this small place,
radiant in the sun and graced by green.

Thirst first motivated her to find water,
a stream of crystal water to quench her thirst,
and so she roamed the island,
but even though plants were green and lush,
she could not find water, just sand,
and began to doubt her saving,
her furrowed brow now imparting her fears.

Coconuts high above she could use,
for meat and precious water,
but so high they were,
even stones would not dislodge them,
sticks not long enough and she unable to climb,
for each time she slid back down with grazed feet,
her soul beat before it could begin.

So she sat forlorn, in the shade of a palm,
and looked out to the endless ocean.
So what good my feet upon the ground
when what I want is high above, she asked,
and a monkey suddenly descended the palm
and landed lightly beside her.
Not meant to be here, it said, matter of fact, yet here you are.

I am thirsty and these coconuts are so high,
can you help a poor girl caught as I, on this island,
and the monkey climbed up and released several coconut,
then disappeared into the undergrowth;
the girl smiled and with a rock tried to open one,
get to the life-giving juice and meat
to satisfy her groaning stomach.

Some time later she cracked the shell
and carefully drank the juice, her body so desperate
to sustain her in this place,
ground surrounded by water,
and for a moment she was satisfied,
her hunger pangs in line
and breathe she did the cleanest air, alive and at peace.

The money returned the next day
and released more coconuts,
but the girl was dissatisfied,
I’m so sick of coconuts, surely there is food,
fruit or meat for me to consume,
and the monkey stepped back,
surely not me, he said with trepidation.

She was desperate and weak,
and meat was all she thought about,
and with a lunging leap
tried to grasp the little monkey, who, with a shrill squeal,
raced off into the lush undergrowth,
never to be seen again
on this island of despair.

The girl searched high and low,
scoured the tiny island,
but as she walked the sounds of animal and bird life silenced,
as if the island new her intention,
so she bound her feet with stringy leaves to climb the palms,
and drink of the coconut,
chewing its flesh until it became so dry, it tasted of sand.

Each night she would sob and pity her life,
for there was no-one to console her, fetch her needs
and on sea or land, she was alone,
and sadness wrapped her up like a blanket,
self-reliance never required,
and she fell into a deep sleep,
the stars overhead betting on her tenuous outcome.


Wafting like a mist on a cool lake,
she found herself, not awake but within a dream,
and as she flew unrestrained,
the freedom imbued her restless heart,
as if for the first time, the start of something new,
and so she approached a fire, by the shore
where many souls sat transfixed by the dashing flames.

She quietly sat by them in a circle,
their faces hooded and in shadow,
yet she felt no fear, no impending danger.
Do you find your feet here? one asked.
Not sea, not ground but dream
may give you solace,
what you are really looking for.

What am I looking for,
I am lost, so perhaps my home, where I belong?
In life we all belong, not so much where but that we do, at all,
and our needs and wants are no just given,
but worked for, in responsibility of this gift,
so how lost can one be,
being exactly where you’re supposed to be?

The girl was dumbfounded,
wordless one could say,
for she had not considered
that this was not about her needs, her comfort,
but just living, being there, wherever she was,
and she suddenly felt light,
as if she had found her plight, wherever that was.

Upon the gentle touch of sun,
the girl awoke the next morn,
lying on the warm white sand,
and in the distance a row-boat approached,
six sailors with oars and beyond a cargo vessel,
not unlike the one that deserted her,
the one that left her for dead.

Madeleine, is that you? came a voice,
and she stood up and waved;
it was the ships cook, the very same ship she thought lost,
and she raced to the shoreline,
embracing the man as he came ashore.
You fell overboard dear, and then the storm,
we were sure you would not survive,
but we checked every island for a hundred miles.

Madeleine embraced the man with gusto,
wondering how she did survive,
between sea and land and dream, she was confused,
but remembered what the dream told her,
that she belonged in life,
no matter where, and it was her responsibility
to accept life and what it brought.

Tony DeLorger © 2017

Tony DeLorger
Latest posts by Tony DeLorger (see all)

Tony DeLorger

Full time author, freelance writer, poet and blogger since 1999. Twenty one published works, past winner of 'Poet of the Year' on HubPages, 'Poem of the Year' on The Creative Exiles, writer for Allpoetry.com, Google+, tonydwtf.blogspot.com.au videos on YouTube and book sales on website thoughtsforabeautifulmind.com, Amazon and digitalprintaustralia.com.au/bookstore

2 thoughts on “Out of Depth and Seeking Ground…a poetic story of place

  • March 10, 2017 at 11:55 AM

    Beautifully written piece, Tony. I can see the symbolism throughout to help Madeleine with her struggle. Well done on this great work.

    PS: Even her name is well-chosen for her predicament. I love this story and will read it again.

  • March 10, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    Glad you appreciated it Phyllis, appreciated your kind words. Take care my friend.


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