Something Worthy of the Sea: Today I discovered the Poetry of Ada Limon
By Stephen Wilson
Oranges & The Ocean
Valencia in the ’90s, nowhere
were the oranges, except one slight
sight from the train’s blur. I burnt
my nipples right off the bat. No way
you could be as pretty as the girls
in Valencia, topless and tanned
all over. Pale blue hostel sheets
were barely bearable. All night
I thought I’d die when the moon
came in and I’d wake to the pinching
skin. But I didn’t die. I went right
back the next day, but in a T-shirt
and didn’t try to be pretty, just
swam like something ordinary,
something worthy of the sea.
Originally seen in The New York Times Style Magazine – August 24, 2014
I was having a delightful conversation with a lovely lady about this poem this evening. It has all the charm and titillation of the beginnings of a love story, but then it isn’t. It’s about becoming self-aware. I think we all struggle with this idea that we have to be as beautiful as what we see around us, but we fail. Yet, we find true beauty in what is natural to us.
I love writing of this kind; these short vignette descriptions of beauty, youth, and the fleeting nature of time. There is an honesty in this writing that is undeniable, and in turn universal.