At night, the sight of land commands
the dreams of any sailor, and
horizons are watched by day
through veils of spindrift.
We will send up ravens
to follow their flight;
always drawn to safer ground.
Yet the ocean is holy water
to a mariner when slippery hope
is the only prayer of his net.
A south wind may shepherd
a storm to scupper boats -
to teach a wave's lesson in fate
under trough and crest of grief.
Here, courage is deliverance -
though a hollow sea will anoint
in brine, still we hold to tillers
against the threat of the depths
that we might sink to, slow
and heavy in the bloom
of a burgeoning midnight.
And here, we would discover
the surprise of warmth in cold,
a glow that begins to illuminate
the darkness: the comfort
of the false clarity of drowning.
There are lost gods to be found
in descent, whose wisdom is no more
than another conspiracy that eels
and worms away in revelations.
Unprotected, we will pledge
ourselves to the weather,
as marauding as any faith, and
only the sea knows the measure
of its torments, so I know
we must endure, send up
the black birds - the deep
takes no pleasure in men,
it has its own priests.
A little corny, but written for someone who gave me wise advice based on a sailing analogy.
Image is from here: https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Die_Gartenlaube_(1899)_b_0100_a_3.jpg
Also on Twitter - an image of a Viking boat sending up the ravens to sight land or return to the boat.