The bitter end
of the rope that let your sails
down, or swings empty and
waiting from the gallows –
she takes up the slack, knots
twisted like secret codes, pulls
up the anchor, changes course.
Sailing close to the wind
There are always omens, signs
warnings like the old red sky
in the morning. Like the time I told
you I was not a good swimmer;
it was in December. Now it’s April
and my feet alone only take me
so many yards from the shore.
It’s a habit of mine, sailing
close to the wind. The worst
that can happen is the ship will
tip you into the sea by Spring. If I
drown paddling back to you, don’t think
of it as failure, but as courage.
Part two of three. See part one here.
The pirate round
is marked on our hearts
maps etching both dangers
and treasures. Deviation
from the same old voyage
is discouraged – never change
what’s familiar. It is a comfort.
Even if the comfort is forever
battling a hundred navy ships,
and our treasure is ten tons
of tarnished brass, weighing
us down – stick to the maps,
you know the way home.
I’m doing it now. I warned people. Today I’m catching up again and you’re getting not one, but THREE poems drawing on pirate traditions. They’re definitely drafts because I want to make something of them, and they’re in no way there yet.
her toes draw patterns
through the dirt, dust
kicked up by a dry-land
wave of her skirt keeps
time with six hundred
years of heartbeats
it’s spiral, a cycle
she lives in the future
dances the past, threads
them through the needle-
eye present with transmissions
to her blood from dying stars
The humble dreamer, wounded unto death
by elves of a malicious disposition, knew
there was wizardry in it, but did not fear.
She came in through a knot-hole in the wall
in the small village where I was born, sunbeams
bursting through the gloom of the forest
like the songs of Bohemia – I have heard
them singing their fairy songs. Go, and beware:
dance into the next country, the train will soon
be leaving. Memory-fragments cling to me
like a madman, this dizziness resulting in nausea,
thrown off the rails. Don’t try to understand.
Modern Man in Search of a Soul (Chapter I: Dream-Analysis in its Practical Application) by CG Jung
The Forest in Folklore and Mythology (Chapter V: Mythical Denizens) by Alexander Porteous
Above our heads the
sky in a grey cloak of clouds
reminds us we must come
home to truth. You and
I forget ourselves. I have to go
further all the time, providing
relief from the stretch of days; ‘a
change is as good as a rest’
as they say. And you leave for
good, or so you hope, to see all
the hues of blue in the oceans, the
cluttered galaxy, when I only see the moon
like all the other blinkered viewers.
So this poem is a golden shovel. The form is from the official NaPoWriMo prompt for day five. The ends of all the lines in my poem can be read top to bottom as this haiku by Basho:
The clouds come and go
providing a rest for all
the moon viewers
Also a thanks to Simon over at Adrenalin Ghosts for quoting ‘a change is as good as a rest’ at me on twitter last week. Having that quote fresh in my mind made this poem easier to write, and now it’s also the title.
the truth of you
& they need to connect
you to something
already known; this
you do to yourself –
& I have been guilty
but I have seen behind
the mask & the words
& not once have I
looked the other way.
This is based on today’s official NaPoWriMo prompt, and also on things tumbling round inside my head. Apparently ‘unequal bittersweet’ is the name of a seashell. Interesting.