Songs of a Castaway

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Out here in the wide and wet,
the winds still whoosh but the waves
don’t lap. There is no shore,
just the wander and wash of lifting,
dropping, pushing and pulling in any
and no direction at all.
Here floats the castaway. The jetsam
from a tall white cruise ship painted
with gilt names like Society or Propriety.
Or maybe tossed from a tramp steamer like
the S.S. Familia. Doesn’t really matter.

We float out here under sun and star,
among the same sharks, whales,
and schools of shining somethings.
There come times it gets lonely, though,
when all the humanity you hear is
gasping as you swim and swim looking
for a place you can rest your feet,
listening to your voice singing
off-key shanties taught you by angels
inside your head.

One night, I swam near once-distant lights.
A shore of dry earth stretched before me,
where tramplers raised dust and a constant
dissonant holler, angry and confused
as gulls in a hurricane.
I asked did I really want to set
my feet down among that, when out here
I’m free to just watch, and the angels
and I could make up more songs about
what we see, hear and think of it all?
And so we swim.

A little wake-up Free Write Friday (actually Sunday) poem based on a GIF prompt set by my friend Kellie Elmore. This one came straight off the pillow, so you all can decide if it’s the remnant of crazy dream or the truth of first-light consciousness. Does it really matter?

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18 thoughts on “Songs of a Castaway

  1. The ones that come straight off the pillow are the best, in my opinion. For me, it’s my muse talking to me … but whether siren song or crazy dream, I must say that this captures perfectly where I have been for a while. On a tangent, this castaway theme reminds me that you will never know if you can walk on water, unless you step out of the boat.

  2. “We float out here under sun and star,
    among the same sharks, whales,
    and schools of shining somethings.
    There come times it gets lonely, though,
    when all the humanity you hear is
    gasping as you swim and swim looking
    for a place you can rest your feet”

    Gooooooose. Buuuuuumps.

    …and so we swim…

    My God, Joe. I am speechless. Mornings are so good to you! Sigh. Inspired me to no end. ♥

  3. This one does stun, brother, and somehow you personalize a hunk of flotsam, & you set us adrift, on the sea inside, & the seven overlapping seas that gird our sad blue planet; so, yes, one must continue to swim, to exercise control over the wind & currents.

  4. ooh… I’d be scared out there in the sea (mostly because I can’t swim.) ha… I really dig the last stanza; you make a very good point by questioning if you even wanna step on those stressful grounds…

  5. That water you swim I read as a flight from reality… just a litlle flotsam to remind us of the the harsh life on shore… and what a disturbing picture you paint of such a word… hmm… maybe I’m off in my interpration. but this is what I read into your words

  6. One of the things that caught my attention in reading this, Joe, was the movement you created. I felt like I was gently bobbing up and down in an almost-hypnotic way. Very skillfully crafted. I have been there…many years ago. You took me back.

  7. Love this line especially Joe “listening to your voice singing
    off-key shanties taught you by angels
    inside your head.” A beautiful flow from sleep into waking. Hope you are feeling better.

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