The Sinking Ship Sailor

“Aye! Ahoy! but never Avast!” The sinking ship sailor would call.
From port to port and ship to ship his feet would step from deck to deck
to ride the waves and raise the mast and set the sails on many a vessel.
But never upon a brig with speed,
Never a schooner that caught a breeze.
Never a barque that sailed with ease.
Nay!

The ships he chose were filled with holes, the sails were limp, the oars were rot.
The hulls were holed so water flowed and filled the hold
and so the ships were slowed …
at best.
Not all was bust, I must confess! The anchors worked! Or so I jest.

Always in a state of sinking, whatever was this sailor thinking?
Did he find it cause to gloat to sail on ships that barely float?
Or did he find it better yet to walk in trousers always wet?
If he sought to sail unseen, he could have sailed a submarine.
Always in a state of sinking, whatever was this sailor thinking?

“Aye! Ahoy! but never Avast!” The sinking ship sailor would call.
To run aground or slowly sink he’d choose a ship as if a plank
to walk. And not just one, nay always more, he’d hop across a whole armada.
But always upon a failing fleet,
Always flotillas that wet his feet.
Always a navy too easily beat.
Aye!

His shanghaied self was far from help, the self-slaved whelp, the soggy salt.
The galley slave of volunteer was without fear,
Or so it would appear…
to most.
He was not brave, I would object! He was a fool! So I suspect.

Always in a state of sinking, whatever was this sailor thinking?
Did he aim to be a captain saving ships whose death was certain?
Or did he find a great adventure serving ships of wet indenture?
If he sought to lead a crew, a proven ship would surely do.
Always in a state of sinking, whatever was this sailor thinking?

“Aye! Ahoy! but never Avast!” The sinking ship sailor would call.
Every ship the swab would pick was moments from a deathly quick,
and every choice, non-buoyant hunks of Chinese junk that were not fit for cargo.
But maybe he wasn’t just a knave.
Maybe there’s cause for time he gave.
Maybe he found them ships to save.
Maybe?

Some ships he chose were treasures still, the sails had soul, their pasts were rich.
The ships were bold when tales were told of legends old
and so the ships were gold …
to some.
There’s no logic, I would conclude! To his in drench’ed servitude! Or so I shrug.
Until he’d find one long at last
whose glory wasn’t in the past;
Until one day he’d climb a mast
and for the first time shout, ‘Avast!’

Published in Inkwell Spring 2017 Bethany Lutheran College

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