Thursday, February 7, 2008

Grieving on a Ship in the Galapagos (a poem)

(a poem on grieving while on board a ship, in the waters around the Galapagos)

Parts of the day, and nights I watched the sea gulls,
chase the ship, sometimes alongside us,
sometimes in back, sometimes they looked
perched, as if in thin air,
up there, there by the Captain’s helm,
where the gulls seemingly roam,
presumably uncaring,
staring into the Captain’s room;
snubbing the whole world, and its land
under a dark blue sky looking down
and around, onto the dark blue water
(perhaps even me)
((they seem to know something
we’ve yet to learn:
that man is lost in this world)
( yet he hang on)).

Now I pace, to and fro, in the moonlit night,
pace like a child, back and forth
along the side of the ship,
like roses to ashes, I feel,
going from Island to island,
in the Galapagos (it is September of 2003
my mother’s been dead two months):
I have a cup of coffee in hand,
left over from dinner, in the lower café:
my steps are heavy, my feet unsteady
I’m exhausted; death has its own theme, thesis.

A few ship staff, climb up and down the white ladders.
There’s not much of a currant in the waters,
this evening, I notice, it’s like carved smooth marble,
touchable as calm silk—;
it seems, I’ll sleep well tonight,
let the pain of my mother’s death ascend
to the heavens: it seeps out you know,
into my head as if there was a hole, a
hole in the boat, that leads to my brain

but somehow, these gulls and their wings
gliding in the moonlit night, pasted me
on deck, seemed to pacify me, understand:
life was never meant to last, only to grab
appreciate, and then let go, for another.
There’s a little islands full of sea lions, seals,
and I suppose gulls, over there, I hear them:
the water splashing against the rocks, their
voices echoing, I wish I was as happy as them.

NOTE: After my mother died in July of 2003, which seemed to age me 10-years, I took a voyage to several of the Galapagos Islands, I was perhaps not the best of company, for my wife, or passengers or anybody, I kept a lot to myself, but my mother either lived with me, or I with her for 34-of my years, it was traumatic when she died, two months after she died I took the trip. In February, 2005, Donald Hall, Poet, and I would talk briefly, on my loss, actually his book on his wife’s death, helped me during those days. And here in this poem is one of those days on the deck of the ship me and my wife were on during this period. #2178 1-24-2008

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