The boat is tied neatly against the pier.
The teak gleams but you can see the wear,
the marks of decades of use.
The things that make it able
have been maintained. You can see that.
The hull lacks barnacles. The ropes are fresh
and if the cleats show pits of oxidation,
they are small. Nothing has been allowed
to weather far. It is a craft ready,
made for travel, to ride wind and wave
using no more than its own strength
and the wisdom of its sailor
to trim the sails just so, always adjusting
to the fickle shifts of the ocean.
A survivor, never allowing neglect
to stand in the way of journey.
Even now, in this strange season,
docked too long to the wooden pier,
its whole purpose, whole meaning,
put on hold by fate and laws,
there is work to be done.
For the West wind always returns. Always.
There will be new horizons and the secret
to meeting the new necessities the West wind brings
is to do the work, not of maintenance,
About this Poem
About wooden sailboats of course. That is obvious. My father had a wooden sailboat when I was a young man and it was a constant battery of work to be done to keep her ready to sail.
About our time right now. Quarantined, I am trying to spend much of my time learning, preparing, doing the work to launch, even if I know not when.
The picture was taken in Mystic Harbor, CT. I loved its name and swore I would write a poem around it someday. Four years later, I finally got around to it.
Be well. Travel wisely, even if it is in your own head and heart.
Especially if it is in your own head and heart.