poem by Paul Haynie
Jean Léon Gérôme, Pygmalion and Galatea, c. 1890
The lee rail's in the water, and the sails are drumhead taut,
And there's just a trace of terror in my smile,
But there's magic in the moment that simply can't be bought,
And I can dance with terror for a while.
My little ship is laughing as she crashes through the chop,
And the hull is filled with echoes of her voice;
It's hard to think she once was random lumber in my shop,
And a dream that didn't leave me with a choice.
The wind forsaken sails are hanging limp against the mast,
And there's just a trace of boredom in my smile,
But my feet are on the gunwale as I watch the clouds drift past,
And I can dance with boredom for a while.
I know that it's a treasure to be free to mess about
(As I raise a glass to wise old Brother Rat),
And I knew I might be rowing home before I started out,
So I can't complain if it should come to that.
The wind is warm and steady, and the sails are drawing well,
And there's nothing but pure pleasure in my smile;
My little ship is singing as she crests an easy swell,
And I can dance with pleasure for a while.
January 31, 2005