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The Color of Sand - By: Hancheng Wu

I sat alone on a whitening log,

and I felt the beach’s sand.

I mean really felt it.



Each piece, each coarse grain,

each individual part of the whole and,

at the same time, the whole itself.


I squeezed it and let it fall through my fingers,

watching the black, brown, beige specks fly,

every one of them containing finite infinities.


And I wondered:

What was the word for the colour of sand?

Is it sand-coloured sand?


How absurd...

I then took a piss into the water, watching it dissolve into bubbles.

My tiny, fragile legacy—

A sort of f***-you to the universe.


Please give a detailed explanation about the meaning and main idea of this poem.:


I wrote this poem while camping in Georgian Bay Islands. A girl I had known for seven years invited me on the trip. I had always felt an inclination towards her; at certain times, it had been love or infatuation and other times just plain curiosity. That dream had come and gone many times throughout the years, and there was something about our lives that was strangely poetic. We grew up in the same city and throughout those seven years, we both moved around twice by forces beyond our control, ending up in the same city both times. The odds of that happening were so infinitesimally small. If our pasts had intersected in such a manner, what of our futures? But I had been too afraid to unveil the truth, at least until now. On Saturday morning, the group went for a hike. When we were heading back to the campsite, I had a chat with her as we walked and through a series of accidents, finally arrived at her thoughts. She rejected me in the usual fashion, saying I was not her type and that our personalities did not match. It felt freeing as much as it did devastating. I left the campsite to walk alone, trying to reflect and mourn the quiet fantasy I had nurtured throughout all these years. My mind fluctuated: at times there was hope—a very, very foolish hope—and other times, despair. I walked through a forest and found myself by a sandy beach. I sat on a white log and felt the sand. My despair still sat there with me. I felt lost about the sort of life I wanted to live, I was worried about finding love, and I was still mourning my dead dream. I desperately wanted answers, but I didn't even know what questions I wanted to ask. A strange urge overcame me. The beach was completely empty as far as the eye could see so I walked to where the water washed onto the sand and just took a piss. At the time, it hadn't felt like anything special but thinking back, I feel like it meant something as much as it did nothing. The urine dissolved into bubbles in the Great Lake; whatever particles I had left disappearing into nothingness almost immediately. Compared to the millions of years the lake has existed and the millions more in which it will continue to exist, the droplets I left behind will mean nothing. They were, just like the beach and its grains of sand, tiny specks that formed a greater whole. Meaning resides where we believe it to reside, whether in the whole or in the piece or in both or neither. I erroneously looked for meaning where none had existed. It’s a common failure, we often assign meaning to meaningless mistakes, coincidences, accidents, and more—that is both humanity’s greatest flaw and our greatest strength. Looking beyond the confines of the poem, I will have to go through the motions of mourning—enduring pain from the last few palpitations of hope before the dream finally dies.


Please explain your writing and thought process regarding this poem / reason for choosing the poem (same answer given for both):


I wrote this poem while camping in Georgian Bay Islands. A girl I had known for seven years invited me on the trip. I had always felt an inclination towards her; at certain times, it had been love or infatuation and other times just plain curiosity. That dream had come and gone many times throughout the years, and there was something about our lives that was strangely poetic. We grew up in the same city and throughout those seven years, we both moved around twice by forces beyond our control, ending up in the same city both times. The odds of that happening were so infinitesimally small. If our pasts had intersected in such a manner, what of our futures? But I had been too afraid to unveil the truth, at least until now. On Saturday morning, the group went for a hike. When we were heading back to the campsite, I had a chat with her as we walked and through a series of accidents, finally arrived at her thoughts. She rejected me in the usual fashion, saying I was not her type and that our personalities did not match. It felt freeing as much as it did devastating. I left the campsite to walk alone, trying to reflect and mourn the quiet fantasy I had nurtured throughout all these years. My mind fluctuated: at times there was hope—a very, very foolish hope—and other times, despair. I walked through a forest and found myself by a sandy beach. I sat on a white log and felt the sand. My despair still sat there with me. I felt lost about the sort of life I wanted to live, I was worried about finding love, and I was still mourning my dead dream. I desperately wanted answers, but I didn't even know what questions I wanted to ask. A strange urge overcame me. The beach was completely empty as far as the eye could see so I walked to where the water washed onto the sand and just took a piss. At the time, it hadn't felt like anything special but thinking back, I feel like it meant something as much as it did nothing. The urine dissolved into bubbles in the Great Lake; whatever particles I had left disappearing into nothingness almost immediately. Compared to the millions of years the lake has existed and the millions more in which it will continue to exist, the droplets I left behind will mean nothing. They were, just like the beach and its grains of sand, tiny specks that formed a greater whole. Meaning resides where we believe it to reside, whether in the whole or in the piece or in both or neither. I erroneously looked for meaning where none had existed. It’s a common failure, we often assign meaning to meaningless mistakes, coincidences, accidents, and more—that is both humanity’s greatest flaw and our greatest strength. Looking beyond the confines of the poem, I will have to go through the motions of mourning—enduring pain from the last few palpitations of hope before the dream finally dies.



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