judge a captain not by his shipwrecks, but by whether or not he blames the sea Aug 21, 2020

for that old gray salt, granted.
but for the green sprout's first doomed voyage,
it's hard to feel like this clueless idealistic fellow deserved
to be smashed to pieces in open water.
is there blame in ignorance? how can we know what we do not know?
when the dockman yells about the oncoming storm, is he considering your purse or his own?
how can we distinguish honest warnings from manipulation?
it takes a lifetime of mistakes.
and which old man do you become, after all of these lessons?
the honest, or the manipulative?
of course, it is never so simple.

and it is wrong to assume the other option is to blame himself.
there need not be blame at all:
there can simply be wonder at the destructive power of the ocean
and the knowledge gained from disaster, taken forward.
that wrecks will only ever be for new reasons.
that's the ideal, anyway.

and what right do you have to judge the captain at all?
you're not out on the sea, making the decisions he is making.
building the skills and acquiring the knowledge
of how to sail a treacherous world.
you pay him for passage, and remark on his manner.
you're an ungrateful leech. a product of civilization.
what good are you to the captain?
but he does need the coin.
it is difficult to escape the lure of civilization these days.
its ease.

and the sea does not concern itself with us.
though its emotions be roiling one minute and placid the next,
it answers only to the sun and the sky.
of course, with all that we burn
perhaps the sky will have some things to say to us later.

as we grow larger and settle into this big round mother of a world,
it feels less like a wilderness, and more like a ship
sailing the darkest of seas.

turn your face to the sun
and set sail.


Links to: II. The Queen of Snowdrops, end stone, i wish i knew how it would feel to be free, the reckless beemoth of snowflake 8, without fear of wind or vertigo, your poetry inspired me to make this really practical item

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