This following poem is from Edgar Lee Masters:

I HAVE STUDIED many times

The marble which was chiseled for me—

A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.

In truth it pictures not my destination

But my life.

For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;

Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;

Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.

Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.

And now I know that we must lift the sail

And catch the winds of destiny

Wherever they drive the boat.

To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,

But life without meaning is the torture

Of restlessness and vague desire—

It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

This is from his Spoon River Anthology. So very powerful. I know this is nothing new, nor is it very profound to just post a poem- especially one that isn’t your own, but as I sit here and wait for the great Nemo to hit (yes, they named the storm Nemo, as if calling it by the name of a cute clown fish will give it any increased terror), I started thinking about where I’m going in my own life. Which can be scary and is not so reassuring a proposition all of the time.

I watched the light flakes come down this afternoon from my bedroom where I napped after school was let out early. I reflected on Masters’ poem “George Gray,” complete with its sad and haunting image of a man who equates his life with that of a ship moored safe at harbor, afraid to venture out beyond the headwaters, and figured something out.

I don’t want to be George. Who does?

I don’t want to live my life in fear. Again, who does?

I know it’s kind of melodramatic and grand, I know, but it’s all I have today as I await this blizzard and my repeated rounds of shoveling. At 44, I don’t want to come to the same dramatic conclusions that George does. Instead, I want to embrace what’s out there and live.

So…expect me to be out there more in terms of writing. I’ve already lined up two projects to work on: one for a local golf website and the other for a progressive web magazine. I may also get jumping on that damn stalled story.

Either way, I want to be out there, not in here. I’m ready to break through the headwaters and lower the sails, because, god knows, I don’t want to look back with that kind of regret.


© 2013, Brian Stumbaugh. All rights reserved.