Tuesday, January 26, 2010

At sea, you hear echoes

At the helm
I can feel each remark of the rudder:
Tremors and shudders of currents just
as I feel the familiar details of the wheel.
Varnished brightwork trim for cruising
past those very first landfalls of Europeans lost
with their wide-eyed supplications,
the corporate beaches and actors' retreats.

You cannot see my hand upon the wheel.
Yet I am the one that you indict
Of cruising idly by,
engaged in some other pursuit,
morally unaccountable,
merely inattentive,

just not ever there at all.

I do not know, nor can I,
how your home and land has just this minute
been shaken and torn away like the rent mainsail
I had often furled and thanked --
I cannot hear you call out like a child
As a child's teeth crush child's flesh crushed
In hours of horrible darkness.

I am barefoot.
And you have no shoes.

and I feel that all is well
as my relief appears
Driver ex machina.
I breathe in a cigarette, and I exhale
the last four hours.

The weather deck and the one below
Are Solid
and must not ever sink or tear.
Because then I would be lost too:
The helm gone with the helm
Pintle and gudgeon

(Please continue to provide generous encouragement to those who provide relief in Haiti.)


karie said...

This is PJ's earnest and deeply sentimental account of a sailor's sadness for Haiti. I never sailed anywhere near the island, or her sister (which, I only learned of today - Isle de la Gonave), but had I, I would regret today not having stopped, or even thought of who and what I was passing by. I think it is a part of the passing of life for us to "miss" some of the really important stuff. Let thos of us willing vow to catch what we can!


PJ said...

Everybody still hates poetry and smoking.

I get it.