Art, Literature, and the Law: "I Was Wrong, You See"

I was wrong you see.  

I thought I was the wave, but  

I am the ocean. 



I was wrong you see.  
I thought I was the wave, but  

I am the ocean. 

For when I need space 
To feel, reflect, and process, 
I head to the coast. 
Eyes up to the sky, 
My back suspended above the depth 
And the darkness below me. 
It’s there as I float, 
Tangled thoughts become clearer. 
Where the water surrounds me, 
Inside, outside, and around me. 
I remember to be still 

And I become the ocean. 

Artist Statement

With this project, I wanted to capture how I return to balance when my emotions run high. For me, water is restorative. But living in Minnesota, when I can’t make it to the coast to swim or float, I return to the water through meditation. And that’s what this poem of stacked haikus is mostly about. It began with the first stanza about the wave and the ocean. After I wrote the first stanza I walked walked away from the poem, thinking it was finished, but months later I felt guided to continue the story. With those first lines, I was inspired by a book I had recently read on child development. I loved the idea of thinking of yourself in one way, as an ocean of big crashing emotions, and later realizing that from a different perspective you are something entirely different. Or at least not just that one thing. The ocean felt like the perfect metaphor because the ocean is both big crashing waves and stillness; and that’s beautiful.

Brandie Burris graduated from the University of Minnesota in May 2022. She is currently a judicial law clerk at the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.




Managing Editor
Elsa Cournoyer

Executive Editor

Joseph Satter