The Armada

Man is a ship.

A slick sloop, a quick clipper, a callous galley,

or a surly Man o’ War; it makes no difference.

At port, he yearns for what he’s built for.

Then at sea the storm hits,

and the thunder and lightning are loneliness and fear.

Calm descends on long days, and a blueness stretches flat over an empty, endless plain.

We are two ships, you and I.

Tied together, we crash as the swells roll beneath us—

they don’t even have to be big—

our masts creak, our tangled jibs flapping;

our pretty paint cracking, our ropes in disarray, our sails in tatters.

We’re dandy vessels, aren’t we?

I can’t tell if your figurehead’s a mermaid, or a kraken.

There’s a hole in my bulkhead that I sealed with a dollop of tar, but I’m sinking nonetheless.

What were we built for, again?

You and I, we can do better. You and I,

we’ll turn our planks to water, and our ropes to salt;

our sails into the wind that draws its pictures on the waves,

and our tallow candles into the reflections of stars;

and when our masts have become driftwood,

and all our maps point to Here,

we will pour ourselves into the ocean,

and wreck no more.


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