Pharos

There has been terror, walls of water, nightmare monsters!
Our hands around splintered oars.
Our hands around twisting lines in desperate storms.
Our hands around our bodies in the freezing nights.
Our hands around each other's throats in frenzies of despair.

There has been light, safe haven, mighty walls!
Light from a sturdy tower.
Light revealing gray-white gulls.
Light in our captain's steady eye.
Light at dawn, on a rocky shore.

Strange, the solid ground our legs shift upon.
Strange, the women bringing children to the docks, who call.
Strange, the endless streets, the many doors, odors, sounds.
Strange, the urge to sail again, to leave this tranquil harbor.

No wonder we stagger in the street, thought mad by both priest and whore.
We are mad.
Only the swell and fall of the sea can receive our pitching souls.
_______

for camera FLASH! at Real Toads.

"Pharos" image created and provided by the mystic and magnetic Kerry O'Connor.

Comments

Kerry O'Connor said…
Wow! Shay, this is such an authentic monologue, voiced by the thousand sailors past and present, who feel the call of the ocean in their veins. Your repetitious lines are so skillfully crafted as each successive line draws us deeper into understanding the motivation and psychology of the speaker.
hedgewitch said…
Your use of repetition, one of my favorite poetic devices(when done intelligently and well, as you do here) gives this a feel of chant or the somewhat unearthly call of the psyche, and your images as illuminated by your repeated words shine with the salt of symbol as well as the rhythm of life lived in a perilous place. I especially relate to this one : "...Our hands around twisting lines in desperate storms..." as too many lines have twisted out of my slick hands, and the last stanza is just killer, Shay. The bar is stratospheric here.
Sherry Blue Sky said…
You take me right there. I can see it all. I especially love the light at dawn on a rocky shore.
Old Egg said…
What a great commentary to read as the sailor once again faces to the uncertainty of a voyage at sea.
Kim M. Russell said…
I enjoyed the rhythm, the lyricality and the repetition in your poem, Shay, which captures the fear of the raging sea and the magnificent stature and hope of a lighthouse. I love the hope in the lines:
‘Light revealing gray-white gulls.
Light in our captain's steady eye.
Light at dawn, on a rocky shore.’
Brendan said…
Attagirl, laying your trump cards on the sea; who is not hunted and haunted by its awesome/ful majesties! Kerry's' paint of the waves lashes here with a terror singing high in the nerve. Why do drunks sober up and then return to the thing that destroyed them? Why do sailors go back to the sea? Whores and priest can't explicate ghouls like usssssss.
Susie Clevenger said…
Oh, I love this. You embrace the drive of sailors to return to the sea. An aquatic madness to return to the uncertainty of the breast of water.
Susie Clevenger said…
Oh, I love this. You embrace the drive of sailors to return to the sea. An aquatic madness to return to the uncertainty of the breast of water.
Jenna said…
I really like the repetition in your poem.
brudberg said…
I really love the way you use the repetition to talk about the ordeals of the sea in the first stanza, the safe return in the second and that return to sea in the last stanza... I think this is a story that has been captured over and over, and maybe this is the key story of the madness of humanity, every success and failure.
Jae Rose said…
The repetition really works well in this wonderful poem
Helen said…
Wave after wave after wave ... this pulled me in. Wow.
The Bizza said…
You nailed the sensation of returning from sea and the sensation of shore "shifting" beneath feet as the inner ear adjusts. Great use of repetition to paint a theme. Lovely poem.
tonispencer said…
The last three lines reach out in so many ways. In the late Victoria days there were Penny Hangs all over London, because after all, London was a sailor town. What is a Penny Hang? A sailor pays a penny to spend the night sleeping on strong ropes. a sailor turns in his sleeps and sets all the other sleeping sailors to rocking and rolling as if they were still at sea. Sailors reeled in the streets, their stomachs roiling until they slept in a penny hang. Many thought them mad as they wandered in search of respite from the physical discomfort. I love the use of repetition in this - like a sea chant.
Amazing story here Shay.
Margaret said…
...it takes a certain type of person to fall in love with such danger and physical toil - the ocean scares me to death - I love the beach, going in knee-deep. But I always imagine the pirates when I visit the coast, the fisherman, the navy and marines... I can kyack if I stay parallel and close to the shoreline! You really captured the details and thought-process here of the individuals who embrace such a life! ... just loved it.

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