Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Cape Blue (Nov. 2003)

Passage through is
the only route to Her
softest beaches,
but Lord! only the
most graced and supple
ship has ever sailed
intact through such
dire marge. Look:
the surf here is
malefic, some loosed
inverted angel,
ravening the shoreward
rocks with smacks
and booms you can
feel in your chest
20 miles away.
Pray your captain
is as godlike as he
is God-fearing; that
his crew fleet as
devils at their
horrid drenched stations
and the carpenter
can hammer faster
than every imp
of wind or wave
Cape Blue dispatches
to send you to
its littered hell.
You will be a week
at this -- a seven days’
assault upon your every
landed grace as the
ship climbs and smashes
the perplex main,
each rise shrouded
in infernal mist,
each fall grazing
the very teeth of
doom. And the nights!
When packs of sky-
wolves roam and keen,
and all you do not
know baiting them
with your sour
sent of terror. Twice
I’ve rounded Cape
Blue; twice the
harrowing thrash
which endureth
almost beyond all
prayers on deck.
Twice now when all
seemed lost the
demon loosed his
legion claws and fled
leaving us to such
sweet calm that our
battened ravened
senses could not
believe we had
survived to praise
our God and write
the story down. And
sail on over seas
as calm as they
were once bewitched,
on to fair far
dapple-islands rich
in the sweetest of
sweetmeats -- coconut
milk spilling from
white fruit, the breasts
of native girls, beaches
of post-sex torpor
dreamy in such
harboring sighs.
And yet thrice now
I’ve woken here in
Paradise to feel
some homeward
bell tolling low and
deep within, and
found myself walking
to this gentle pagan
shore at first light
watch the sun rise
freshened from
all eastwarding seas,
the light merry and
fair, all pink and blue
over the soft cerulean
wash which sends
pale wavelets to kiss
and foam at my feet.
Why then does my
heart ache here
for that cold and
drizzly homeland
of industrial blight?
And -- worst of all --
having survived
that awful Cape
thrice before,
how could I ever
presume to return
where angels are forbid,
and once more succeed
in snaking past the
devil’s own blue galley
where all waves and winds
and sea come to feed?
Doomed, I know, but
greater than such seas
is this heart’s blue tide
which hauls me back inside
to find her once again.


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