This week’s word prompt is: shallow.

Please post your 200 words (no more!) by clicking the comments link at the bottom of this post, keeping in mind The Rules.  Next Sunday evening 6/9/13, last week’s winner hmr will read the entries and select a winner.

Once again, please invite anyone you know who enjoys writing!

[Click the comments link below to read entries and discussion.]


27 thoughts on “shallow

  1. Shallow Winner
    Shallow, being the depth at which nothing particularly reaches any depth, remains often unfathomable. The inaccessible reasoning beneath the surface of such things as carefully articulated banalities and artful pretensions is deceptively faceted and filled with meaning; hardly shallow.
    Broad sweeps of shallow voices breed complex intonations and draughts of considerable measure that, when taken together become far deeper than any selected portion of the available range. Shallows become fathoms when overt platitudes are subtly filtered and panned.
    Superficiality tends to lend itself to infection that renders deep wounds, bulging scars that rise above the surface as much as sinking below. Even upon healing, by word or work, shallow remains will be found, lurking.
    Without depth, comprehension is easy to find, though resoundingly average exclamations bring nuance to the shallows. Which shallows, of course increase in volume vertically, rendering a depth in which drowning is entirely possible.
    If an infant can discover oblivion in a bucket, or if a single word can impale as a sword, or if a minimalist can capture eternity in a few strokes, anything shallow is depth well disguised. What we call shallow, in any case, is either useful or troublesome, and hardly safe or mundane.

      1. Well, we’re not many of us miners any more, so panning kind of doesn’t happen. But a lot of filtering, specially here in SoCal; Water, internet, all that stuff.

    1. If an infant can discover oblivion in a bucket, or if a single word can impale as a sword, or if a minimalist can capture eternity in a few strokes, anything shallow is depth well disguised.

      A fantastic sentence. The beginning grabs your attention with an emotional truth that works to buy extra consideration for the conclusion.

      “Discover” – what a poignant verb here.

  2. It was there within
    I think it was me
    where I saw the reflection just behind
    my mind
    just beneath the thought
    that not
    had any meaning.

    like his soul
    not even a shadow
    of sense
    not a glimpse of feeling.

    It was me.

    A reflection
    a dancer of emotions
    sliding into his heart
    choreographing silence

    Shhh…. Can you hear me?
    Whispers and swirls of
    my skirt enfolding you
    moving you into

    Dance with me.

    He trembles
    eyelids flutter

    I will Breathe
    for you.
    Breathe with me.

    Our breath swirls
    we dance
    from flat
    into deep
    of response.

    I saw our reflection just below
    my heart
    just within the dream
    not one

    Deep breath,
    deep breath….
    we slide….
    dive across
    the floor of stars
    lights so bright
    they burn
    our hearts
    each other

    And I stop, still
    my skirts
    settle around his heart.

    My heart is still

    Shhh…. I hear
    his deep
    intake of breath
    for the
    first time.

    It is full of meaning

    we dance….

    1. Whew, what a sensuous poem! Need to catch my breath … 😉

      I like the fluid/swirling imagery that runs throughout. “It is full of meaning for me” is a fulfilling conclusion, such a reversal from the emptiness in the first stanza, that I almost don’t really need the last 3 words. My favorite line: “from flat still shallows into deep fast currents of response.” Beautifully choreographed!

  3. Shallow

    shallow breaths, grimaces, gasps
    bony blue feet hop, hobble
    on shell shardy gravel

    briny tide races back
    baring ankles, shins under rolled up pants
    fleeting sting of sandstudded sunny wind
    welcome burn on bitten skin

    quickly doused by next foamy slap
    of affronted April sea saying
    Not yet skinny kid. Not just yet.
    Not even in my shallows

    1. Fun encounter between child and ocean. I’ve been on beaches like this – they’re not tropical, they’re cold and scraggly and rough on the feet, and you’ve evoked that well. I love the playful consonance and assonance throughout, as well as the sea’s unique voice at the end.

  4. In Praise of Shallowness

    It is over –

    It will never, truly, be over –

    And no friends, no silence, no prayers, nothing said or done can quell the numbing, buzzing sense that it has only just begun –

    Praise God, then, for shallowness.

    Praise God for Ho Hos and Pop-Tarts and Cheetos, Flamin’ Hot.

    Praise God for Bob Barker, still calling down that next contestant. For Gilligan taking one more coconut to the head.

    Praise God for teenage boys kick-clacking skateboards in the cul-de-sac.

    Praise God for the NFL, the PGA, the World Series of Poker.

    Praise God for that key scratch across the minivan’s hood, that dashboard light that winked back out the month after its replacement.

    Praise God for LOLCATS.

    For letters to the editor.

    For everything Black Eyed Peas.

    Praise God for tangled shoe laces and khaki stains, for fifty-cent coupons and Facebook spam, for Pez Dispensers, speeding cameras, parking lot tiffs, for Jim Carrey and Bieber Fever and twenty-six seasons of Survivor

    For these, all of these, and only, magically nudge you forward, back to what is, what has been, what always will be.

    Numbing. Buzzing.

    In bliss.

  5. Children splash their toes – and chins – in the end of the pool that tapers to a lapping, ocean-emulating edge. Unlike the deeper end, it is warm, being more quickly changed by the heat of the sun. Not every pool has a petering end like this. Many are three feet deep at the lowest end. This little area holds a special attraction.

    To the mother mind, it also seems more…dirty, as if the particles could not escape, being trapped in a book-thin layer, too far from the filter. Not that the children care. They are simply amusing themselves while waiting for that next whistle to blow – the one that screams “you may now re-enter the overcrowded pool for another 45 minutes; the flirty underage lifeguards are done stretching and ostensibly testing the water quality.”

    Mom’s mind is filled with thoughts of foods to buy, friends’ goodbyes, husband’s sighs, neighbors’ eyes, swimsuit size, and college tries. For now, though, she has no other choice but to grin from behind her large sunglasses and poke her toes into the …shallow.

    1. Fantastic complexity in the second paragraph, captures the “mother mind” perfectly. And what a phenomenal way to pack worries and sorrows into the start of the third paragraph – all hidden at the swimming pool, of course, behind large sunglasses.

  6. Beyond the twisted paths, so narrow
    Wonder what this day may hold
    Through the fields, known to harrow
    And the stories we are told

    Will there be the forest line?
    Or a snowy peak to see?
    Or a castle made of gold?
    With all the pleasures in for me?

    Will I know By sitting here?
    Maybe not, so let me walk
    And dance along the turns I fear
    Like from a hill, a falling rock

    Through the time, through the haze
    I tramp my way to reach somewhere
    But where? will I be in the maze
    And will it be my end at there?

    A shallow thought has made me run
    So forth that I cannot see
    What a beauty I left behind
    That in that moment was all for me

    O the twisting paths, so narrow
    May you never reach an end
    And the thoughts that seem as shallow
    What is there do you intend?

    Let me be the moment’s right
    Let me be the moment’s wrong
    Let me sing to the moment’s tune
    To the moment a different song

  7. Nonstarter

    Swimming? On
    They swam into
    What must be
    Darkness; their hands
    Like pelicans
    Slashing the bay
    Seeking some
    Below; up again
    To the air,
    The other shore? Yes,
    They burned to
    See it, and might
    Yet; such things
    Mean little
    To me.
    Trees hang close, foliage
    Alive with
    Fluttering nocturnes.
    Wind herds
    Wavelets in my
    Direction, the wake
    Of some mournful barge.
    Alone? Never,
    Really. They have
    Left, no matter.
    But I am still waist-deep,
    Here where it is
    Here where sometimes
    The surface is calm and
    Reflects the tiny
    Silver shards of
    What may be

    1. The speaker is very small in this poem, and very quiet – only self-identifies as one “I,” one “me,” and one “my.” Yet this poem is all about the speaker’s point of reference, which, though fixed, does change. By turning down the invitation to swim and letting those noisy folks splash their way violently across the lake, the speaker experiences water in a different way – in magical stillness. The swimmers move toward darkness (deep part of the lake); so does the speaker, who alone, in the shallows, is treated to star reflections in the still water’s surface.

      Reminds me of my favorite adage, “An empty can rattles loudly.” The butterfly won’t land on you if you’re running around bellowing in the backyard. Thank you for encapsulating this truth in a fresh way.

  8. Wow, some serious writers in here; I’ll add my little unartistic bit not to compete, but just to participate:

    Shallow Kills

    I had a cracked rib once. Since there was nothing a doctor could do but tell me to wait and heal, why should I bother with a copay and an appointment and time off work? On my own, I did pretty well for a few days, breathing shallowly to avoid that sharp twinge in the left side, and dreading every sneeze! But before long I developed an unrelenting cough, and the pain drove me to the doctor. I had developed pneumonia, from chronic shallow breathing. Deep breaths are necessary to clear moisture from the bottom of the lungs. Shallow breathing allows moisture to collect and fester.

    Shallow breathing is linked to poor health in other ways: respiration is part of metabolism. Breathing out carbon dioxide and water vapor is tied to energy consumption as surely as car exhaust is tied to gasoline combustion. Shallow breaths only, are for couch potatoes that ever fatten. To get healthy, lose weight. To lose weight, breathe more. To breathe more, exercise.

    And finally, what about life as a whole? Is a shallow life any better than, any different than, death?

    1. So how does a doctor get you to breathe deeper despite your cracked rib? Painkiller?

      Don’t knock your own piece as unartistic, it unfolds well as memoir/nonfiction. The punchline in the first paragraph is perfectly executed, and followed up by 2 more sentences (“Deep breaths … fester”) that are honed into a poetic voice. Also this one: “Shallow breaths only, are for couch potatoes that ever fatten.” You’re developing a new genre, poetic nonfiction.

      1. And no painkillers (that I recall), he just told me I needed to make an effort to breathe deep once in a while despite the pain. I did have to take a course of antibiotics for the pneumonia though.

        And thanks for the compliments, it worked out better than I thought it would. A few days earlier I started typing an entry and gave up. It worked out much better my second try; the key was leaving out the circumstances of the cracked rib; an interesting story by itself I suppose, but irrelevant to the theme.

  9. Shallow

    We were best friends through elementary and middle school. Then school district lines divided us. Freshman and sophomore years we were both busy with sports, new friends … we lost touch. Then the root of our friendship reminded me of her. August 15th: the day we celebrated by giving out ice cream to the whole 3rd grade, a pool party for the entire 5th grade, and a boy-girl party for the 7th grade class.

    We’d shared our day for years. I wanted to share our Sweet 16 together. I called her on the morning of August 15th (of course I still had her number memorized). We made plans to go out with our families to a restaurant for dinner that night.

    We sat around a large oval table and caught up on our hobbies – she was a jock, I was a musician.
    Friends – she was shy, I was class president.
    Favorite subjects – she loved math, I was struggling to pull a C in geometry.
    College plans – she would attend a state school, I would attend a small private Christian college.

    I realized on my sweet 16th that one’s birthday is a shallow foundation to a friendship.

  10. Surfacing from the all-but-shallow pool of writing as this week’s victor is Pooka’s “Shallow, being the depth at which nothing particularly reaches any depth.” In its contemplative and somewhat lofty deconstruction of “shallow,” the piece carefully uncovers a truth in language–that it is ever sliding. Well done, all. I had a blast reading all of your writings and agonizing over which one should “win.”

    1. Wow. Beginners luck for me! I tried to sort out a best entry and they all had such neat twists that I couldn’t figure out a theory of who hmr would pick.

      Now to figure out a prompt. Hrm.

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