Bonnie Shipman

Rookie - 229 Points (1994 / Portland, OR)

Victory Waves - Poem by Bonnie Shipman

Today I live.
Yesterday I lived.
The day before that,
I almost didn't.
Jesus? ! ! ! ! ! ?

How can you,
who have never almost died,
understand that question?
Now I understand
hopelessness.
Overwhelmed
by waves.
Save me! ! ! ! ! !

I can still taste
the desperation
in that cry,
and the bitter taste of seawater.

But as I look back,
I don't see the gasping,
when violent waters
closed over my lungs.
I don't feel the fear
that even if I made it,
my mother,
my sister,
my uncle,
his sister,
might not.

I taste the moment
when I stepped forward
and the waves didn't force me back once more.
I taste the moment when I believed I would live.

I had told the sea,
as he rendered me powerless,
“Ocean, you can't have us! ! ”

And by God's grace
I stepped out on sands
unshifting,
and looked back
and saw my family take hold of one another
and walk forward.

I live.
Tomorrow I will live.
God holds me in His hands.

2/11/2010


Poet's Notes about The Poem

This is a record of my response to an event that happened one March during a family vacation at Manzanita Beach on the Oregon coast.

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, February 11, 2010

Poem Edited: Tuesday, December 10, 2013


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