Poem: in real life

You’ve seen it in movies,
haven’t you?

There’s the hero.
Things aren’t going well.
They are quite downtrodden.

Then something happens.
A motivation.
An inspiration.

The music changes.

The video montage plays.

They train.
They study.
They work.

Things change.

Things look better.
They look better.
They cheer at the end of the music.

what is portrayed to be,
a few days,
or weeks,
or months,
everything turns around.

The hero,
loses weight,
or learns to box,
or becomes the top salesperson,
or writes the novel,
or whatever the goal is.

But real life,
isn’t like the movies.

and motivation,
aren’t enough.

In real life,
days take days,
weeks take weeks,
and months take months.

In real life,
things are tedious.

In real life,
things don’t work.

In real life,
things aren’t one for one.

In real life,
motivation + effort,
doesn’t necessarily,
= success.

In real life,
after the inspiration,
after the motivation,
while some music may play,
the video montage doesn’t.

The first day,
of a six month journey,
might take five seconds,
on the screen,
but it takes,
eighty six thousand four hundred seconds,
in real life.

In real life,
things are hard.

In real life,
wanting something,
isn’t enough.

In real life,
there is tedium,
and mistakes.

In real life,
after the inspiration,
after the motivation,
no video montage plays.

Poem with an explanation: the same five things

Sitting there,
staring at the list,
the same five things,
the same five things.

and other things profound,
the same five things,
the same five things.

Looking in the mirror,
not understanding why,
running through the logic,
not making any sense.

a path,
a mountain.

at the starting line,
for the whole race,
so far.

The same five things,
the same five things.


This poem is about a person and their goals.  The person in the poem has had the same five goals for years.  They haven’t made any progress on them.

In the first stanza, the person looks at a list of their goals.  They stare at it and realize that the list contains the same five goals it has always had.  This hits the person.

In the second stanza, the person contemplates the time that has passed.  They start to think about it and then their mind wanders off into profound thoughts about their life and time.  They come back though and realize they haven’t made any progress on their goals.

In the third stanza, they take stock of themselves and they can’t understand why they haven’t achieved anything.  They try to think through completing their goals logically, but the fact that they haven’t, doesn’t make sense to them.

In the fourth stanza, the person thinks that completing their goals should be simple.  They think of it as a matter of cause and effect.  This is countered with the reality of the complexity they have faced when trying to complete their goals.  They were expecting to walk a path, but instead they feel like they have been trying to climb a mountain.

In the fifth stanza, the person feels like they haven’t achieved anything at all.

In the sixth stanza, the person is left thinking about the same five goals.

Poem: unfulfilled goals

The goals,
from a decade ago,
the goals,
from a year ago,
are still the goals,
of today.

In the distance,
is something that shimmers,
an oasis,
but a mirage.

No one said,
that the world would spin the other way,
and that all the steps,
would lead nowhere.

There are days,
when it seems that everything should change,
so that something could change.

There are days,
when out in the ocean,
the wind is still,
and all around,
is water.

Poem with an explanation: the ship

So there’s this ship,
built over the years,
out on the water,
but still.

There isn’t an engine,
but even if there was,
there isn’t any fuel.

The wind isn’t blowing,
but it doesn’t matter,
there isn’t a sail.

The oars are moving,
but one goes forward,
the other back.

There’s a rumor,
of an island,
some place far off.

it isn’t a rumor,
everyone seems,
to know where it is.

They have directions,
and maps,
and claims of tug boats.

But they can’t help,
it’s hard to explain,
something about navigation.

there’s this ship,
and all around is water.

Water left,
and water right.

The captain stands,
on the deck,
and contemplates.

There’s lots of contemplation.

Plans are thought,
and written,
and sometimes,
just sometimes,
the oars move together.

But still,
there’s only water,
just water.

It’s strange,
everyone else,
seems to have found land.

But there’s the captain,
on the ship,
looking out,
and seeing water.

There’s a moment,
there’s aren’t words for it,
but the captain has a feeling,
and just stops,
and sits on the deck.

And there on the water,
the ship is still.


This poem is about a person whose life isn’t the way they want it to be.  Everything in the person’s life is not where they want.  Their job, their health, their abilities, their relationships, their experiences, their home, their everything.  It’s not that the person has something very bad in their life, it’s just that their life isn’t where they want, and they don’t seem to be getting any closer to what they want.

The poem starts out with a ship.  The ship is a metaphor for how the person travels on the journey of their life.  It is in some way the expression of their effort.  It is the way they hope to move forward.  It also is symbolic of their life.  The captain of the ship is the person, but the ship is also a metaphor for them.

The poem starts off in a little bit of a flippant way.  It says, So there’s this ship.  It’s almost like someone is telling a story in a bar.  It’s an introduction that glosses over an entire back story.

The poem has two tones.  One is somewhat ironic.  It has a sense of humor, in a way, over negative things.  This tone is reflective of the person in the poem.  The person at times can laugh at their situation.

The other tone is more somber and expresses an empathy for the person in the poem.  This is the tone of someone who sees the person and understands what they are going through.  The two tones are mixed in the poem.

The ship was built over the years.  This expresses everything the person has done to get to this point.  The person’s state in life is described as out on the water, but still.  The person is living their life, but they aren’t going anywhere.

The next three stanzas talk about how the person isn’t moving forward in life.  The first of the three stanzas starts with the greatest propulsion – an engine.  It says the ship doesn’t have one.  This means that the person is lacking a variety of big things that might make them move forward in life.  It might be education or skills or connections or something.  The person is lacking something that would really get them going.

The irony of this though, is that even if the person had an engine, they don’t have any fuel.  This is meant to say, that even if the person had something that might move them forward in life, that they are lacking something still that would help them use it.

This isn’t meant as a condemnation of the person, it is just stating a reality.

The next stanza of the three expresses a similar but slightly different idea.  The wind is some sort of outside help.  This is something, like a third party helping the person, that is separate from the person, but would help them move forward in life.  The person is lacking this as well.

The irony again though, is that even if the person had this thing, they don’t have the means to utilize it.  Even, for example, if the person had a personal connection that might get them a better job, they don’t have the social skills or knowledge to utilize the connection.

The last of the three stanzas continues the similar theme.  The means has degraded from an engine, to wind and sails, and at this point to oars.  Again, the person isn’t able to utilize what they have.  They have oars, but they use them in opposite directions and they don’t go anywhere.

In the next stanza, there is a thought about where the person wants to be.  This state in their life is describe as an island.  It’s some place they want to land their ship.  As the person hasn’t achieved this state, the knowledge of it is described as a rumor and it’s some place far off.

This personal knowledge is contrasted in the next stanza by the knowledge of others.  While the person has only a sense of what they want to achieve, others around them seem to be clearer on it.  Everyone seems to know exactly what the person needs to make their life better.  In a way, this stanza pokes at the advice the person gets.

The next stanza is saying that people claim to know how the person can achieve their goals and even offer help.

The following stanza though, says that these directions and offers aren’t helpful to the person.  The person’s life is such that advice isn’t helpful.  It might be that the advice is bad, or the person has heard it before, or the person can’t use it, or something.  The idea though, is that it isn’t helping.

The next stanza gets away from an outside view and goes back to an inside one.  It comes back to the ship itself.  It restates its condition.

The following stanza emphasizes it.

After this, the reflection moves from the ship to the captain.  It describes the captain as contemplating.  This means that the person is thinking about their life.

Following stanza says that the person thinks a lot.

The next stanza says that the person thinks and plans and sometimes moves a little forward in life.

The next stanza is saying though that this isn’t really doing anything.

In the following stanza, the person in the poem thinks it’s strange that seemingly everyone else seems to have achieved the things in life that they struggle for.

The stanza after this gets away from this temporary outside view and goes back to the person and their state in life.

In the next stanza, the person feels defeated and just overwhelmed with things.  They just have a moment where they just sort of stop.  It feels, if not devastating, just too much.

The last stanza summarizes the person’s life.  They just aren’t going anywhere.

Bilingual Poem: Before the goals start

Before the goals start,
a list of priorities,
sounds like an alarm beeping,
the code must be completed,
or the beeping will not stop

Antes del objectivos comenzan,
una lista de prioridads,
sonar parecida alarma sonando,
la clave debe acabada,
o el sonando no termina


Note: As noted previously, M. Sakran is not bilingual, and therefore there may be some errors in the Spanish translation above.  Please forgive any errors in the translation.