All mariners are lonely,
even surrounded by a crew;
no bond can lift the fog
that settles in the bones,
the unshakeable coldness
of any alliance with the sea.
We do not speak of it -
do not speak of it --
who encouraged this pact
of silence where the expression
of pain is too uncomfortable?
Until some of us learn
to orbit one another as if we were moons,
or in the circled dance
of an albatross, lost
to ancient paths that render us
And an albatross beholds the ocean
in glides between elements,
above the chorus of waves
that splinter against cliff and
shore: the birth of flint children,
and the grey beard of the mariner -
foam inched into every ugly crag.
The sea has teeth, devours
like shame, longlines of death
to black-browed mollymawks
who funnel brine for squid.
I have never killed an albatross,
but I understand a descent
of regret, the jags of guilt,
the communion of sorrows
it binds within you.
Black-browed mollymawk is another name for the black-browed albatross.
Longlines are fishing lines that are a cause in the decline of albatross populations - the hooked lines snare and kill them.
This poem is based on reading the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.
Image is from here: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thalassarche_melanophris_1838.jpg