AQUA: poems from the sea – Timothy Arliss O’Brien

The fishing incident

An oath taken at dawn

In light of the bright sun

cascading Out of the ocean

An oath to tell no one


Not even thy self

A secret that shall die at sea

And stay at sea

The lifeless wet body

Slumped over the bow of the boat

Slippery and wet into the black abyss.

Half man, half fish.

He had stopped breathing seven minutes after being pulled in with the net.

Seven minutes of pure bliss, with the most beautiful creature I have laid eyes upon.

An oath at a funeral,

happening too soon.



The adventure of the ice cave

The ship left port all too late at dusk.

Sailing 36 km due north for the ice fishing spot.

I had traced the location of a lore based deep ice cave only half an hour’s journey west from the popular ice fishing spot.

Legend had it that contained within was a crown, that when worn would bestow the powers of weather. The ability to cause storm and tempest, or with the right planning, paradise. Crops watered properly, and fair weather for all.

Halfway to the fishing spot a thick blizzard started falling straight down, as if someone was trying to prevent our journey.

We reached the fishing spot extremely later than anticipated, but in one piece.

The hike for me was effortless as I had been preparing for a decade, snowshoeing at every chance.

The old manuscript left to me by my grandfather at age nine denoted that the stairwell would be located between two bastions of ice. And they would triangulate with the highest peak into a perfect isosceles triangle.

I reached the two pinnacles, walked straight between them and started digging.

It took me ten minutes to hit stone, all too soon for the amount of snowfall. The stone was the first step and soon I had dug out ten.

After the fifteenth step my way was paved with crystalline walls of ice and frigid air.

I soon lost contact with time and seemed to fly down the stairs faster and faster.

After an indeterminate amount of time I realized I was surrounded by a glow and the ice was melting. I started pressing against the walls and soon they were collapsing away revealing a large ice cavern, fathoms deep and wide.

Molten lava ran like rivers deep below me, as skyscraper sized stalactites dripped into the smoldering earth.

I could see a raised part of the earth with a crafted pedestal of ice jettisoning upward. I peeked around the corner of the ledge I sat on and was horrified at what I saw.

Frozen little creatures covered in feathers bustled around the ice pedestal carving and polishing it. A huge ice sculpture of a man rose out of the pedestal. Atop his head was a golden crown, encrusted with sapphires and rubies.

At that exact moment the earth started to rumble and a deep voice called out, “Who tresspasess here? Leave my cavern at once!”

I could hear the small creatures squawking and scurrying about, looking for me, I presumed.

Running upward on melting ice stairs that had previously been stone proved to be a challenge. Although I did gain about fifteen steps up before slipping and striking my head against the wet melting ice wall.

I was told upon waking, six months later, that I was found clawing at the snow four days after our ship’s departure. No sign of hypothermia, muttering to myself about becoming king.



Red Dawn

Black sky to blue.

Oblivion and peace of mind.


But alas, the crimson clouds warn of fright.

Soon enough, the tempest looms.

The destructive storm terrorizes, obliterating all in its path to rubble.

Maybe sky to turquoise.

Shining down on destruction.

I am an interdisciplinary artist in music composition, writing, and visual arts. My goal is to connect people to accessible new compositions that showcase virtuosic abilities without losing touch of realistic emotions and virtue. I also want to produce writing that connects the reader to themselves in a way that promotes wonder and self realization. I would also like to create visual art demanding of the senses that thrusts people into a new world and a new perspective. Check out more of my music and publications at

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