nantucket sleigh ride

longboat pulled along a liquid sea
 
we, like ghosts of whalers before, were 
 
mounted upon splintered seats
 
 
splinters in our fingers from rowing oars
 
 
the whale pulled us windward with a tremendous hate,
 
its tail flung water
 
 
white-capped waves to capsize
 
 
alone the whale swam, on a mission of its own
 
 
pulled us, pulled us, through the dark and wet
 
 
as we rode, images of you dear maggie 
 
appeared on the waves crest
 
 
you seemed to speak to me, “i love you samuel, infinitely”
 
 
your voiced muffled as our longboat continued 
 
to sway,
 
to creak
 
 
the whale nodded its head, as if agreeing 
 
to continue the chase
 
 
the oarsmen’s hands, now bleeding,
 
the harpooner summoned
 
 
readied in the bow of the New Bedford’s longboat, 
 
bloodstained shirt, 
 
calloused hands, 
 
weathered face, 
 
oil-stained boots 
 
 
his life’s station
 
 
we are here because of you, whale
 
the nantucket sleigh ride continued
 
 
years of whaling rides upon my dreams, 
 
the nightmares.
 
nighttime screams
 
 
i call out for you maggie and our children, 
 
to draw you all to my heart
 
 
but after nearing the shore to see you all, 
 
i row back out to a ghost, a whaling ship
 
 
unfaithful in love, kept secret by the 
 
un-mourning sea water
 
 
a landlubber’s life a student, 
 
the whaling life a tutor
 
 
deep with its first dead, like the lamb 
 
lead to slaughter
 
 
robbing families of their dear ones,
 
like grains of aged sand
 
 
runs in the veins of darkened water
 
 
after taking its first whaler’s life, 
 
it hastens another
 
 
the ones who quickly suspend their 
 
wayfarer deeds, now ended
 
 
it is in the small things that I am blind
 
our children’s first steps, 
 
their first words,
 
holding you close
 
 
no longer wait for thee
 
 
somewhere, somehow, the joys that I knew
 
rode out with the tide
 
 
i have often wondered, 
 
what did you see in me?
 
 
was it my touch?  
 
my smile? 
 
 
now all hidden, from the beauty of your eyes
 
 
my thoughts of you quickly disappear, 
 
even if only for a moment
 
 
as we continue the chase 
 
“mr. right whale, 
 
 
we’re going to be picking an iron harpoon out of your liver!”
 
“come about all ye oarsmen, come about…
 
 
Copyright  © 05/08/2013 Ðark Ṝoasted Ƣoetry®
Image
 
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