The Sedentary Sailor’s Shan’ty

I was born at sea;

Atop an ocean, constantly and quietly pulsing,

Like a mother’s heartbeat,

Too quiet to hear but loud enough to feel.

My fate,

Freshly woven,

Was that of all the (wo)men you’ve never met,

The champion of the horizon’s promise,

Zeno’s pirated paragon.

 

But that ship has sailed,

Stole away in the nauseatingly still night,

Crashed upon some forgotten beach, no doubt,

Leaving me orphaned amongst a tribe of foreign natives,

With withering skin like bark,

Hidden away from the shore,

Insulated from the water by a coniferous eruption of dead earth,

The memory of life-in-motion,

Waiting to be forgot.

 

My tribe was not unkind,

But a different kind :

Hollow and still like their forest they bowed before,

Serene and unseen,

The only way they would know to have it.

My whispers of exultation for the wetnurse who raised me,

Who would carry us away if asked,

Fell like a tree unwitnessed,

On ears deafened by tranquility.

 

That was long ago:

Yesterday,

In the time before time,

When was was is,

And tomorrow a paradox

Before I was the young man stood before you,

Both feet firmly in his wooden coffin,

Before my will became this shan’ty,

My only voice, forevermore.

 

 

 

 

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