Voices on the Wind
DEAD SAILORS ALL
by John Grey
Below the surface,
deeper even than my thoughts,
dead men's bones roll like dice,
elevens, sevens and hard eights.
Legations of sailors
feed the bottom, obscured by reef and wreck,
indifferent to the clang of tolling waves,
mere scattered chapters in unknown histories.
I watch from the deck
of a ship that cuts a minor wound
in the Caribbean's turquoise skin,
imagine, without malice,
my current situation sinking,
a gash in the side, a breach of the bow,
a tip, a panic, a rumble,
and then a slow, hypnotic dive
of steel into the nether.
The drowning is a terror sure
but what of the blissful drifting,
the plaintive rocking of gravity
and dense as black-hole depths.
And a prayer offered shapeless
and easy by all who come this way
to those who crumble beneath
would also include the life I've lead.
Death on solid ground is much too singular.
It fades with its particular clan of mourners.
But the sea is one huge burial ground.
Any tear is welcome.