A weary wanderer, part 1

Dec 14 2011 Published by under poetry

A work in progress, an attempted retelling of the classic Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in a different age and from a different vantage point.


 

He was a weary wanderer.
His gaze sought out the sea.
'Neath grey stone caps and marbled plaques
They rested peacefully.

The mourner's veil did hide her eyes,
For she was next of kin.
The priest departs, the diggers start
To quench the burning sin.

His hands are young, but deeply scarred,
His face is salt and sun.
She turns to leave, but whispers he
"The fire has just begun."

He takes her hand, they set upon
The gravestone, freshly carved.
"The fires burns upon the tide
The gulf is slowly starved."

His eyes drift out, beyond the sound,
She watches where they fall
And waits to hear his sorry tale,
The story of us all.

"There was a time when old men rhyme
The legends of the sea,
Of going out and coming in,
The swell, endless and free.

We climbing atop the towering heights
To watch the rising sun.
From western edge to eastern rim,
The long horizon.

From up on high, I saw the ships
That left the port behind.
Tankers, freights, explorers, breakers,
What wonders would they find?

They ranged below the southern winds,
Above the arctic lights,
And some went deep, so deep, it seems
They pierced the endless night.

So many men set sail that day,
So many men returned.
The sea, at last, lay down her waves,
Her dangers long unlearned.

On some warm days, the yachtsmen play
With fluttering full sails,
But the ships that venture far afield
Can drive against the gale"

The mourner, she rose up to leave,
The sun now hanging low.
The wanderer stood at her side,
"May I come walk with you?

The storms once cowed a wizened crew
Now pass without a note.
The tempests rage, but in their cage
The captain makes a joke.

The ship is steel and strong and hard,
An engine built to pull.
It drags behind a dreadnaught hulk,
A floating false temple.

They drag the dreadnaught out so far,
beyond the watchers' gaze,
And anchor her, full fathoms deep,
To set her heart ablaze.

The dreadnaught beat a mighty drum,
Oh how her engines roared!
And from her hull a harpoon hung,
to pierce the deepest floor.

For months she drilled, deeper still,
Past sand and mud and stone.
She found her gold, the blackened crude,
And drew it from its tomb.

I watched with weary eyes at this,
A common, constant tale.
And since I tired of my height,
Alighted on a rail.

The crewman saw me resting there,
Not far above the deck.
And from his seat, he slung a chain
Which wrapped around my neck.

Into the sea I plunged, unseen,
The links did drag me down.
Although I fought, I gained no loft,
This wanderer did drown.

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