to read this is to know me…

One of my favorite poems (which was the inspiration for my second tattoo) is The Chambered Nautilus – the story of my life… imagine your life as a chambered nautilus, going through the figurative motions in the poem… it’s how we all live.

Now I wish so many of these annoying things that I can’t get rid of will go away – I’m not a violent person by any means, but dear mother of jesus christ and his flock of sheep, some things just shouldn’t have happened, and some people are too ignorant and slow (like the people they keep their feet pressed to the brake at a green light) and show up all the time that you can’t forget them!!! THEY’RE EVERYWHERE!

Nonetheless, I heart this poem, and all it means to me…


The Chambered Nautilus

Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894)

This is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sail the unshadowed main,–
The venturous bark that flings
On the sweet summer wind its purpled wings
In gulfs enchanted, where the Siren sings,
And coral reefs lie bare,
Where the cold sea-maids rise to sun their streaming hair.

Its webs of living gauze no more unfurl;
Wrecked is the ship of pearl!
And every chambered cell,
Where its dim dreaming life was wont to dwell,
As the frail tenant shaped his growing shell,
Before thee lies revealed,–
Its irised ceiling rent, its sunless crypt unsealed!

Year after year beheld the silent toil
That spread his lustrous coil;
Still, as the spiral grew,
He left the past year’s dwelling for the new,
Stole with soft step its shining archway through,
Built up its idle door,
Stretched in his last-found home, and knew the old no more.

Thanks for the heavenly message brought by thee,
Child of the wandering sea,
Cast from her lap, forlorn!
From thy dead lips a clearer note is born
Than ever Triton blew from wreathed horn;
While on mine ear it rings,
Through the deep caves of thought I hear a voice that sings:–

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,

Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!



~ by Kris on January 2, 2008.

2 Responses to “to read this is to know me…”

  1. Yay! You’re blogging! Kris, this poem is utterly beautiful. It made me a little teary to read it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  2. […] In October, I got a nautilus shell on the top of my foot. The reason for the nautilus, is explained here, in one of my earlier posts. It’s still not finished, once it’s done it will be fully […]

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