not remaining ashore

eloquent and melancholy, this poem from Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology tugs the heart to live fully and how fear or mediocrity is a nagging whisper. in the end, the poet conflicts his fear with a sense of knowing that we are created for the battle that can come with the voyage.  

by Edgar Lee Masters (from Spoon River Anthology)

I HAVE studied many times
The marble which was chiseled for me—
A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor.
In truth it pictures not my destination
But my life.
For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment;
Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid;
Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances.
Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life.
And now I know that we must lift the sail
And catch the winds of destiny
Wherever they drive the boat.
To put meaning in one’s life may end in madness,
But life without meaning is the torture
Of restlessness and vague desire—
It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.

*** *** *** ***

The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers specific reason for remaining ashore. (Vincent Van Gogh)

Farthest Shore (by singer/songwriter David Wilcox)

So...Let me dive into the water,
Leave behind all that I've worked for
Except what I remember and believe
and when I stand on the farthest shore
I will have all I need

When my time to live this life is over
I'll tip my hat when I think about that swim
And of all the things that make a life worth living
That only come to those who dive right in