The Sea and the Moon

‘Poetry & Prose by Poet, Cheolsung Lee’

I don’t know how it is I came to be here, but I find myself at the sea. In the dark of the night, outside this hut made of tree bark are the sounds of the crashing waters. I get up and walk outside of the structure, and there is sand everywhere. Sand licking at the sole of my feet, and in between my toes. It itches. There’s also sand in the inky sky, a cluster of starry sand. On the ground, the black waters lap up the beach, and in the sky the darkness of the skies swallows the heavens. In the beginning of time, when god created the heavens and the earth, he split the waters to that of the sky and that of the ground. This is why night and day are two bodies of water of the same color and texture. In fact, the Hebrew word for sky, “shamayim,” is the compound of sham, which means “there,” and maxim, which means “waters.”

Each step towards the sea swallows a bit of the fear. It’s dark, but the clashing noise is majestic and numbing at the same time. I am but a single speck of sand in this massive beach, and so I stop before I am swallowed by the waters, sit down and think to myself. I arrived here at Agonda beach yesterday afternoon, and discovered this spot when I borrowed a motorcycle to scout out the beaches that were less populous. This is a rather deserted area, with just a few huts and restaurants scattered here and there. The beach, which is several kilometers long, is simply water and sand. I don’t know the reason for my arriving here, and it didn’t need to be this place specifically either. But for no reason, I have been strolling this area for the last three days, as if being pulled by the sea.

In the sky high above, the pregnant belly of the moon is tugging at the waters, and the currents rise, responding to the seduction. It is this allure that is keeping me here. From the inner depths of the continent, I have been rushing here, in pursuit of the salty scent, and the crashing breaths of the sea. I realized that I had gotten near even before catching sight of the ocean, not because of the smell or the sounds, but perhaps the magnetic appeal of this place.

So this makes me realize: it was the moon and the sea that awoke and brought me here. The seductive moon, pulling, stroking, quivering, and sprinkling pieces of itself onto the black waters, and the ocean, just as excited, rolling, rubbing itself ashore, with its heavy breaths and greedy mouth, spouting white foam and sea crabs, and trying to eat up even my feet and body—it was their desire.

In front of this natural spectacle charged with sensuality, I begin to think. Since the earth’s conception, the moon has been pushing and pulling at the planet, all day, throughout the changing seasons. For as long as it has existed, the ocean has licked at the shore, rising and falling. It was through the moon’s seeds that the waters became impregnated with the earliest forms of life, and it was from here that those things developed the ability to live on land and become the humans that inhabit this land today.

I do not remember what brought me here, but wake from this deep slumber of thought. Unbeknownst to me, the waves have reached me and rubbed themselves onto my body. I take off my clothes, leaving me nude because I had left my underwear at my hut earlier on. In this moment, the ocean is a beast, one that breathes heavily but gently steps back. Its tongue massages the sand and then myself, and I lay down on the beach, being caressed by the sands and currents. When the beast swallows, I am scattered into the sand as my mind that gets lost in the dark waters. I hear the sounds echoing from the source, deep and heavy within the ocean.