Living by the Sea. {poetry}


Everything she builds

Crumbles in seconds

The shaping and molding she has practiced all day

Is taken by the salty waters that invade her castle


A castle she builds every day


Some days the castle remains

Some days the Sea takes it away entirely


Depending on how she’s feeling, she tries to rebuild her castle

Every single day she wishes her castle could remain

But doing so only seems to grow her fear of what the Sea can do


She would be lying if she said she hasn’t fallen asleep crying in pain

For all the exerted energy and effort it takes to live this way


Some days she’s able to venture off and her castle remains beautiful even

with forces much bigger than herself threatening her home

She stands valiantly with her hands extended

The Sea listens to her


Yet on other days, the Sea comes storming in with mighty power

Roaring, yelling

The Sea consumes her castle and almost takes her away as well

Yet, somehow, she manages to swim, digging her nails on the sand to get back to safety

She wonders why she doesn’t just let the Sea swallow her whole


Is it worth it to live this way?

She ponders some days

Why can’t I grow a shell like the crabs and turtles that live here?

Why must I be so vulnerable to the Sea?


People ask her what is wrong

Why she cries when she is so lucky to live by the Sea

The Sea is quite temperamental, she says, and only folks who live so close to it know how it can behave.


Many moons ago

In an attempt at defending herself from the Sea for good

She desperately started building a moat

She asked neighbors if they had any advice to keep her castle safe

They said,

“Everything the Sea takes, it gives back to you.”


Puzzled, she went back to work on her castle

How could she be benefiting from this experience, she thought

She looked at the grains of sand in between her fingers

As long as she lives by the Sea, she will never run out of sand to build her home


She began to comprehend

Although the Sea may take away with so much force, it always gives back with an equal force

If you aren’t prepared to receive the gifts it gives you, it takes them back anyway

These gifts, however temporary, are gifts nonetheless

And why would someone refuse a gift from nature?

I only see a part of the Sea as it relates to me, she thought

For the world is in constant rotation and the Sea has many tasks to overcome

People disrespect the Sea and yell at the Sea and pollute it


As she came upon this realization, she inhaled the Sea as much as her lungs could take

and exhaled deeply

Her hands full of wet sand

Thank you! she said,

Thank you,

For if you did not exist, my life would be incomplete.


nataliesanchezvalleNatalie Sanchez Valle is a singer, writer, performer, dancer and UC Berkeley graduate, passionate about creating consciousness and community through the arts. She writes to demystify mental illness, document the narratives of her ancestors, rejoice in authenticity and imagine new realities. To learn more, you can visit her website.


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