Beware: Undertow

For Poets United: Mid-Week Motif – Ocean

Beware: Undertow

Subconscious is an ocean
teeming with unknown life
as it laps at conscious mind.

Stealing grains of sand
at its shoreline, slowly
redefining its dimensions.

Washing away what was
while holding it forever
within its indigo-blue depths.

Stormy waves beat themselves
against this promontory
of rock strewn headland,

smoothing its harsher edges,
wearing them down
with time and patience.

Hoarding riches, gifts of lost,
forgotten treasures awaiting
any brave enough to venture

into its cold blue knowing.
More than willing to share
abundant life with those

who are willing to learn
how to breathe under water.

Elizabeth Crawford  6/7/2017

Note: Most of us are a bit leery about seeking out what is buried in the subconscious mind. It is an endless sea of memories and feelings, many of which we would prefer to forget, even though they hold the means of change and even the answers to how we might accomplish that. In physical form, I’m not much of a swimmer, never got far beyond the ‘dog paddle’ stage. But, because I write, and have been doing it for forty years, on a subconscious level, I’m a true fish.

Image is a digital painting done a few years ago.




About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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14 Responses to Beware: Undertow

  1. “Subconscious is an ocean
    teeming with unknown life
    as it laps at conscious mind.” ~ Wise and profound words.


  2. Susan Chast says:

    You are truly a fish, trolling the depths, where treasures wait:
    “Washing away what was
    while holding it forever
    within its indigo-blue depths.”
    Such a “cold blue knowing” that making the effort to get there must must be pure love.


  3. I love your poem, and am struck with the words “cold blue knowing”. Apparently we were both thinking of what lies under that calm blue sea.


  4. annell4 says:

    You are, beautiful silvery, designed to cruise! And how well you do it with your words!!!


  5. Sherry Marr says:

    I love the image and the poem is fantastic. Love that interpretation of the prompt, and the subconscious mind as an ocean, whose depths we plumb as we rise to the surface of our lives in later years. Wonderful work.


  6. Rob says:

    “We are willing to learn how to breath underwater.” Lots of interesting thoughts.


  7. thotpurge says:

    First of all you rocked the prompt! Subconscious as an ocean is a great visual and much as I’d like to be a fish, am still on shore..wondering if I have the courage to grow gills.


  8. Sumana Roy says:

    Love your perspective and feel as those ‘who are willing to learn / how to breathe under water.”


  9. oldegg says:

    I love the sea but know she is a fickle mistress, despite that I hate to see her cry as she does these days.


  10. Jae Rose says:

    You sail beautifully through your thoughts and always produce a wonderful sea of words


  11. There’s a certain understanding in your words, which comes with experience and exploration. Mysteries abound and you provide a glimpse through your vivid metaphors. I really liked it.


  12. Mary says:

    The depths of our subconscious — now that is an ocean worthy of our own exploration, if we dare.


  13. Khaya Ronkainen says:

    Like this fresh and profound perspective of looking at the ocean. The willingness to learn how to breathe underwater is powerful.

    Hello Khaya, and welcome to Soul’s Music. Thank you for reading and commenting. The poem is an extended metaphor, and as such, “breathing underwater” is a part of the metaphor. The subconscious is a different environment, just as the ocean is different from living on land. And just as one would have to have a breathing apparatus to maintain one’s life underwater, so too the world of the subconscious must be approached with some knowledge of how it operates. Its language is not that of logic, but often occurs in symbolic form. So the more we understand symbolism, the more we will learn from the subconscious part of the mind. I’ve written a lot about this subject on my prose site, located here:



  14. Rosemary Nissen-Wade says:

    I’ve always loved the idea of the unconscious as a vast ocean.


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