The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever

Jacques Cousteau

Poem: The Wave of Doubt


The first draft of this poem emerged in Feb 2021 born out of fears associated with the creative process, self-exposure (both body and soul) through some of the images and words that I post on Instagram and my own internal meanderings of my year-long sea journey. I've worked on and expanded this poem over the months and share it because I believe we all experience moments of self-doubt, all struggle and fight to find ourselves again, to move on, to grow and to express ourselves and our truth. 

The vulnerability I feel as an artist (or Sea Mystic) when I bare body and soul is not always easy to manage. Confidence and flow fill me as I create but then doubt can creep in especially after I publish. The Sea manages to give me strength, inspiration and courage to keep going and move past and through the rough waves that pummel my shores. 

Enjoy the audio version of the poem too that I recorded by the beautiful Bay where I visualized much of the imagery in the poem.

The Wave of Doubt 

Dawn Swimmer recites - Wave of Doubt .mp3

From the dining room window
I see the wave of doubt
Approaching. It
Threatens to engulf me.

An unnatural wave, a tsunami
But - viscous, slow, lethargic.
It rises weakly, then
Collapses, upon itself,
Sickening, wrong, an ugly wave.

The sea level rises
Surrounding the house
Will it seep in and flood?
I wonder, then worry,
We're on a hill, and the village below?
It must already be under its
Oppressive weight.
Fish swim past the window
Fascinating and troubling at the same time.

Then I'm in the water.
Overwhelmed in the thick liquid,
I feel myself pulled down
Into the murky, obscure parts of the Ocean,
The parts the surface hides

What lurks below
Among the kelp and rocks
Where the darkness oppresses? 

Creatures rise from the depths
Webbed claws reach for my legs
I struggle but they drag me down
Into the shadowy reaches of
Doubt's Kingdom.

Indecision, self-criticism, irrational fear
The choke-hold forces that
Block my voice
Question my every move, as
They squeeze with slimy hands
Clinging sickeningly to my self-worth.

Despair approaches
I almost succumb.
Paralyzed, unable to move,
I feel myself slipping
Slipping into the shadows below.

Looking up
Glimmering light penetrates the surface,
Rays reach downward.
I must fight.
Strong legs kick hard,
An inner glow propels me.
I grasp a glittering ray and
Follow its sparkling path
Out of the abyss.

Fingers release their clammy grip
The kelp loosens and slips away
My body glides upward through that
Eerie, creepy water.

Breaking the surface in a
Pearled dress of bubbles
The sun floods my face.
Relief washes over me.  

Drawing in a deep breath
Salty air fills my lungs
Renewing my spirit
Strengthening my resolve.

I float on my back,
Gathering my strength
Balanced, yet
The Sea, still adverse.

Chest heaving, my
Eyes focus on the mass of blue above.
Rays descend, warm and enveloping.
Passing overhead,
A gull glides by effortlessly.

I conjure
The Sea, I know and love.
A gentle whispering reassurance
Washes over my body.
The whisper becomes an
Internal roar, matching the
The Sea's vibrating

Slowly, the water
Clears, lightens,
Flows naturally.

The Sea now wraps its
Silky dress around me
Clothing me in its
Graceful embrace, perfectly
Tailored to my body.

Gliding unhindered in my
Suit of self-assurance
Sunlight ripples over, around and through
The Sea and me.
Looking down, the watery world now
Teems with life
Fish dart to and fro.

Peace washes over me as I
Swim to shore
Riding on the
Wave of self-belief that
Comes to carry me
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