The Ship’s Captain

As I read the closing lines to this poem I think I may see a difference between my work and that of a greater poet’s (William Blake as an example that I’ve read recently). Blake wrote his poems in a way so that the intellectual would discuss and argue their meaning and still need it explained to them – it isn’t writing this way that made him a great poet, but it certainly suited his views and complemented his style. As I write my own I try to keep in mind the casual reader, and (while I don’t often disclose every detail of a poem) I open some doorway within the lines to understanding the whole – perhaps in similar manner to Aesop, with a closing morale.

THE SHIP’S CAPTAIN
Sins sweet as honey, drawing me closer,
Nuzzling their dying heads into my neck.
Contentedly blind, I fumble my life,
Unknowing this captain’s course is to wreck.

The Temple curtain is torn, the sea parts
And my ship is held above a slick mud.
Taking the side to see our fate below
Our captain beats the deck and screams out loud!

“Leave me this; too many you have taken,
Too many have been brought safely to bay.
You must promise me one for Hells Harbour.
Why take this? He’s nineteen years in my pay.

He’s suffered and sinned and sweated his way,
He’s petitioned my name and cursed in yours,
I’ve worked in his heart and rotted his soul,
Now you come calling to turn him to chores?”

No words in reply – none needed for truth –
The captain was cast to burn in the mud,
But I was kept safe and made to be free,
My ship washed and cleansed in one wave of blood.

Down below deck where the darkness does squirm,
Sins sweet as honey (but poisonous more)
Plot and they plan and they lift up their heads
To find me asleep; they wait at the door.

Revelation’s light on the white wakes me
As it sears the dying heads nuzzling in.
I am thankful and I realise now
I must keep a watch to win against sin.

If you liked the structure of this poem, I do have another written in the same way (different subject) for my upcoming collection Fables, Depths, and Heights and I would be very grateful if anyone would be willing to give simple feedback on it: let me know in the comments if you’re interested.

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