Wednesday, June 18, 2008

679. Going To Sea - David Wagoner

Since we're setting out to sea, everything in our world
Has suddenly one of two clear, separate names:
What We Leave Behind
And What We Take With Us. We have no need to rehearse disasters,
Like being wrecked and stranded, to choose our cargo.
We were born marooned,
Have been castaways all our lives, Practicing the survival
Of our fittest, and now we know what's necessary:
Relics of our bodies
And souls, what's left of our minds, remnants of our hearts,
And something more weatherproof than our bare skins
To hold between us
And the sun, the rain, and the wind which keep no promises
And no appointments, but which will surely arrive
With or without our approval––
Add food and water, and we can subsist on these alone
After a dying fashion. We make our X
At the crux of departure
And bury there all we no longer treasure: death's-heads
Over bones crossing like sabers, a dead man's chest,
Songs hollow as laughter,
Our pieces of eight and gold doubloons, our empty bottle
Left in the sand behind us, holding the message
Of our light parting breath.