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,
or

maybe
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.

EIGHT BELLS
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.)

2 comments:

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!

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/27/haiti.gonave/

PJ said...

Everybody still hates poetry and smoking.

I get it.