“Steinbeck’s Boat, Port Townsend, Washington”
In all the years I have been near lakes and oceans
I have never seen such blue
pushing gently against invisible shores,
like a lover pushes the soul to want more,
or as calm can influence a wildness
we cannot see but always are ready to feed on.
And I wonder as I look at the huge docked carcass of his boat,
if a simple remembrance
of riding a current of words that bound us together
could survive better if he had had a smaller boat, one to furl up a sail and catch
another kind of stillness.
It is then I hear a series of sighs
grey and bleak from the molded wood of this giant,
like Gregorian chants in palpable drones
emitted out loud, over and over.
They reach in unison as my organs
twist them like the Loose Strife that take over
the freshness of a Great Lake to make it treacherous,
and remind occasionally of
Time may know no limit here,
this ship moored forever in ill repair,
unable to move again
in its silky sauce of decay,
and I am part of what he began in writing
and momentary salvation is open
to the right page.
Steinbeck made sure of that
in each and every phrase,
as he is there at my shoulder
when I right the words’ direction
or float the bow into
an unsuspecting bay.
Sailboat with Furled Sail, 16″ x 20,” oil on canvas by Martha Gallagher Michael.