Emerging waves against a shore must break
defined by wind and distance to the moon
while humans meander a mysterious fate.

Our unmapped lives a challenge to navigate
through snowstorm, earthquake and typhoon.
Rising waves against a shore must break.

We start and stop, too oft our course waylaid.
Our toil for naught, our efforts like dust strewn.
We humans wander to our unknown fate.

As lovers, we succumb or hesitate,
eventual surrender, torrential swoon.
Soaring waves against a shore must break.

We nurture children, hope and pray
they survive disasters, remain immune.
We humans struggle to our ultimate fate.

If fortunate, a long life can we embrace.
First fight, then accept our blossoming decrepitude.
Mounting waves against a shore soon break.
We humans collapse to our quite certain fate.

Terry S. Johnson performed as a professional harpsichordist before serving as a public-school teacher for twenty-five years. Her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Johnson’s first book, Coalescence, won Honorable Mention in the 2014 New England Book Festival. Her second collection, Plunge, came out in 2019.