Before the wind could whisper of a gale
my tongue would taste its presence in the air,
I’d feel the swell of ocean muscle hale
up from the deep, although all else was fair.
Before the canvas cracked, before the flail
of rigging gave, before a spar could split
along some sap-wrought weakness in its grain,
before a cloud could clear its throat and spit
I’d know, as though I’d scried this globe of pain
together with the One Who’d fashioned it.
I’m hard and I was born for hard command.
I’ve hammered down the sun and stars and nailed
their genius to my wake. I am the Hand
of God at sea and I have never failed
in duty nor have been by fear unmanned.
Yet I, despite all this, cannot exscind
that I am man who cannot fathom man
and soft with men I should have disciplined.
I'm forced to map anew my mortal span,
they’ve put me arse unbreeked, into the wind.