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Thursday, 18 April 2019

not even the captain



















going down with the ship — not even the captain

lost souls on a heaving swell where an incidental tide 
drags us drifting between land and open sea

not even the captain — going down ship and all

it seemed like calm seemed like shallows but the wind was ill 
and blew every other way while we hoisted pennants and ensigns 
red white and blue against its prevailing hauling ropes and halyards 
to fill the sails 

a mockery of seafarers — going down — not one of us captain 

the pounding waves came 
soundless spray in the air like a sea fog upon our intentions
hardly out of harbour bound for glory on some fabled island paradise 
destiny seared upon our souls hands flat on patriotic chests 
fists in clenched salute to the jingo brotherhood
to a shrieking sisterhood of followers and doxy brides

not even captains — going down with the ship — all hands

on deck rearranging points of the compass to suit 
a rose by any name by any means a rosary of pig-headed hopes
like cheap beads on frayed twine 
heeling top-heavy with pride light of cargo in the tide-races 
tipped into so few fathoms of coastal water by too much armament 
and too little aim 
filled to the gunwales with anger and haste 
till the waves come over our tiny heads our empty heads 
and the salt water rushes in to fill the vacuum we thought of as 
purity of heart and pride and nation and Dunkirk spirit 

all going down in the not so deep  — and not even a captain

the officers have flown the field or sculled away 
in ones and twos in borrowed skiffs disguised in stolen clothes 
treasure chests beneath the thwarts to buy safe haven 
on foreign shores where a squandered crew can never go 
drowned or not but sure as death abandoned

never the captain — the lower ranks and orders — going down

on the bobbing ship of fools the manifest a pack of lies 
everything of value smuggled out in port by privateers and scoundrels 
and the dupes put to sea for show careening from rock to sandbank 
in shallow channels barely deep enough to drown a sorrow 
we had been boarded by the enemy of our own complicity 
hoodwinked by jack-tar talk and petty rivalries all guns spiked and pointed 
at fictitious targets till we capsized unbalanced unhinged wide-eyed

sliding beneath the breakers — going down with the ship


© Brian Hill

IMF says no-deal Brexit risks two-year recession for UK

Theresa May should let Britain leave without a deal

Brian Hill - [Blog: One Piece a Week]

Brian has been 50 years a poet. One-time designer and film-maker; long ago, the rhyme-slinger, cartoon cowboy, and planetarium poet; now feverishly stringing words together in the hope of making sense.



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