[Portage, January 31,
Listen up, all you ships at sea,
By which I mean both you and me,
Not just metaphorically.
We steam as ships alone across
Seas hard and wet until full stop
Our engines quit, we slide away
Stilled by untold unfixables
Leaving wakes called histories,
Most unexplained, merest blanks
Unknown, those secret mysteries.
Few seek meaning in this sortie,
Hard enough to keep the helm straight
Under blustering storms of life
Much less seek epiphany.
Death rarely telegraphs intent,
Comes instead like lethal boulders
Breaking holes to let water in
To flood us to oblivion.
Living full, knowing it will end
Requires an act of most stout heart.
We take one step after the next,
Buoyed by daft promises
Of everlasting paradise
Or nonspecific perdition
Neither empirical from hence.
Do we hear as final sound, oogah!
Surely not a drill dear old boy,
This ship of yours is going down
To end a life of pain and joy.