"All men shall be sailors, then, until the sea shall free them"--Leonard Cohen
They stood on the beach with poles,
not to rescue those wave-palsied souls who gasped their last,
but to push them further out to sea.
"A storm hit us," said the swimmers, slowly cartwheeling back under.
"No," said the beach-folk, pursing their lips in distaste for the lie,
and shaking their heads. "There is no climate crisis,
and therefore no winds such as you describe."
With that, they poked the confabulators with their poles until they sank.
"Build a wall!" came the cry. "A sea wall!"
Not to protect from invented storms, but from very real strangers
arriving unwelcome despite the poles, some still moving and coughing,
some insolently still.
In the end, order was restored and the glubbing drowners dispersed.
"We will pray for them," said the beach folk,
thinking themselves quite grand in their largesse.
The children, who had come to gawk, were sent inside as a precaution.
"After all," said the mayor, gazing nobly into the middle distance
and gripping his bible with its tales about good industrious fishermen,
"this is not appropriate for youngsters to see;
besides, you know what they say about sailors."
for Kerry's shipwreck challenge. Thanks for filling in for me!