Little Boat

Little boat, little boat,
dark water heaves and sprays
oars creak in twisting rowlocks
sky billows heavy, black, night follows
day, and all the air lacks light.

Bare skin, bare skin,
beads of water windblown
stringing face and arms ...
strands of sticky, sodden hair 
clinging, muscles fight the water's
heaving surge
but no deft turns come.
Hampered by the flying foam,
a mouth stuffed cold with wind, 
the will fails and is old.

The roar, the roar
in the ear
cold fear moves in the belly.
Old wounds open, freely bleed, 
smarting with blown salt
spray like seed.

Airborne, airborne 
is the spreading golden light
a small crescent shore
dips, rises, dips, on wings of light ... 
wave and wave split the sight
the golden and the green 
arc of her salvation.

Palm trees, palm trees
all tall and lush, swaying
and a blue frill lapping.
and a boat pushes out
steadfast in the heave.
It comes this way, 
rolling, cuffing waves, 
it comes this way to carry me
off the current
to the shore.
Collected Works
Return to Collections all
next poem