Monday, August 02, 2010

"Call me Ishmael"

We'd been at sea for far too long.
I don't mean the ocean—the corrosive
fluid of a man's obsession
was what upheld the Pequod's keel.
We were adrift, out of sight
of all landmarks, home and family,
history, religion, any sense
of our own lives' geography or heading.

We were like drowning men or captives.
Some acquiesced. Some were unwilling.
Some swallowed the fanatic's dose.
Your age would call our ship
a floating Jonestown. Each man aboard
was marked for death, corpses adrift
in a wooden coffin.

All round us whale-spouts arose
like sheaves of sprouting wheat
we said. What did we know of wheat?
A landsman's image mouthed by sailors
sinking in unadmitted desperation. The sun
blazed down on trackless liquid wastes.
Nothing lay ahead except the deadly reckoning
wrapped in a milk-white hide
like hull-breaking rocks in fog or surf.

Call me Ishmael, miraculously delivered
by no virtue, but by design: one should be left
to tell this tale.

Collection available! Knocking from Inside

1 comment:

Stacey @ Entropified said...

Many beautiful images and sounds, but this is my fave:

"Nothing lay ahead except the deadly reckoning
wrapped in a milk-white hide"

Really good to say out loud.