August 9, 2014

Ed Wickliffe

FOUND AMONG LETTERS TO HIS MISTRESS

Let us set forth upon our journey now,
let us depart with square-billowing sail.
Where west winds blow across the painted prow,
we seek the Indies of our love so frail.

Let us depart with square-billowing sail,
the compass of our quest to guide us ’round;
we seek the Indies of a love, so frail
as ever sailor sailed and one day found.

The compass of our quest shall guide us ’round
sweet curvature of sea before the mast,
our goal the lure that daring sailors found
with eager eyes from windy high crows-nest.

Sweet curvature of sea before the mast,
the quiet harbor, still, and far behind us,
our eager eyes from windy high crows-nest
watch fearsome waves gather to remind us.

The quiet harbor, still and far behind us,
we skip headlong the crest of scudding seas
where fearsome waves gather to remind us
of tattered sails, the risk of fragrant Indies.

We skip headlong the crest of scudding seas
where west winds blow across the painted prow,
our tattered sails, the price of fragrant Indies.
—Let us set forth upon this journey, now.

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003