Poem: Perilous


The picture hangs on the wall,
the harbor, an age ago,
ships of sail and steam, all vanished,
victims of time and technology.

You sailed when you were a child.
When you stand on the shore, you still feel the pull
of the ropes, of the wind in the sails.

The feeling never leaves you,
that connection, the capturing of wind
if only for a brief moment, the knowledge
that your control is indeed brief,
a gift of God, able to turn in a moment.
ripping the ropes from your hand,
tearing your flesh, straining every muscle in your arm,
reminding you how perilously human
you are.

About this poem

The picture hangs in a restaurant in Portsmouth, Maine.

I used to sail as a boy and a young man. I still prefer sail boats to anything with a motor.

I once had a boss who’s motto was that as soon as you thought you had things figured out, you were in trouble. I have found that absolutely true in life and work.

From all that, this poem.


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