Glass Half Full

By: Helen Peng

The appeal of the beach is different

For everyone who visits.

Some venture deep into the water,

Their heads bobbing above and below the surface

Of the bittersweet saltwater.

Perhaps they crave adventure,

Letting the waves envelope their bodies,

Seeking a refuge from the prickly heat.

Perhaps they fear the danger

Of sickly rays of sun

On their children’s delicate,

Porcelain skin,

Pulling them deeper into the water

By the strings of their life jackets.


Some remain at the shore,

Looking off into the horizon

But not yearning for it.

Perhaps they are holding the little

Sweaty hands

Of children who squeal

Whenever a wave rushes over their feet.

Perhaps they are women

Cringing as waves splash onto their legs,

Jumping up in alarm,

Avoiding the saltwater

For fear that it will fade their

Designer swimwear,

Purchased just for this trip.


Man is said to be able to be divided

Into two distinct groups:

Glass half empty

And glass half full.

But when you’re the one standing

Inside the glass,

Filled to the halfway mark with saltwater,

And to the top with the warmth of the sun,

How can anyone tell you

You’re an optimist if you prefer the water,

Or you’re a pessimist if you prefer the sun?