His Fleet

Light as a feather she skipped across the waves of the tiny harbor of her life-space
     ‘Sufficient unto the day being the trouble thereof’.
           A child of faith, not ‘cumbered with life’s cares’
                Deft and responsive to each passing breeze
                     With childlike innocence,
                           The goal and course quite firm in mind
                                 But held so lightly in her hand.

His boat rode low – ore-laden deep in holds wrought stout for heavy seas
     Not fast or agile in the least – strong driven and aware
          That speed and thrust mixed blessings are when not at sea
                With long-term stretch for far-off harbor goal –
                      In need of constant course
                           Lest changed direction quick be made –
                               With ten-mile-radius turns the only way.

She’d prayed for weight – momentum – staying power –
     And had forsaken many a chance to take the easy road –
           Thus as she sailed, responding from the upper decks while building
                Deep below in holds
                     The weight she’d known she’d need to have
                           To stay the course
                                 That day –

Now she awakes, looks down, and sees momentum in herself –
     Weight not of herself but given space to be of
          Her – that in this day of heavy seas
               And gale-winds fast approaching, steaming
                     Onward into storm and night – like cruise ship –
                           Lights above and stabilized below.

I saw young angles of his frame
     Excitement from the gift he’d given
          Far greater than he’d showed for gifts received –
               Great as that was.

I watched those angles of his frame shift round-ward
     Low with passing year emburdened now
          Of load he was not built to bear nor
                Of that height of seas far higher than his
                     Masts – thus he, in time, sat out the
                          Storm, and waited, cork-like,
                               ’Till the quiet came at last.

The weight and stress of life, not sudden,
     But with steady building size had
          Grown with her into mid-life’s unrelenting
                Drive – like Atlas’ growing calf she matched
                   The growing load with incremental strength
                        ’Till now her rounded movements not yet
                              Slow were solid to her tasks.

She was not agile, not beneath at least, but light of
     Heart, momentum deep as she could be,
          Her actions slowed now by the scourge of
               Time and inattention to herself as we all be
                    In our small fleet
                         Of ships upon the sea.

A River-barge was she – not fleet of quick response
     But steady-loaded to the line with constant
          Ore to be refined at some far distant port
                She’d never see, but without her
                     Small part there’d be of gold
                          Refined to set the tiny jewels
                               She sold right after school,
                                     And wore at times, though
                                          Call for them at her tasks
                                                Rarely be.

And me? What is my role -- new ways to see as I push
      From each dock some place to be – refining process
            Of the sea – engagements of my task that other
                 Ships now tied up fast might look on
                      Me and fresh way see to go their ways
                           With far more grace efficiently.

I’ll never sail the oceans wild, or glide the ports
     At eventide with freshening breeze and hearts
           That match till home again at dark.

I’ll never freight the river wide, with steady
     Load down to the tide, from upper reaches
          Draw rough ore, to moor up rarely on
                Some shore, preferring to plough on.

I work the channels, watch the ships, and note
     The problems as each slips from birth to chosen destination –
           Note the agile, then the rounded
               Curves which each increasing load of
                       Cargo makes with age, or ballast placed to stabilize,
                            Their Journey to the goals and course-selected life --
                                 Till each at last their cruising done they
                                      Decommission , every one, if not first wrecked
                                            On stormy sea or rocks protruding,
                                                 Near some shore – close-clipped
                                                      By chance or error in the storm.

And then I post results – Though now I see it’s
     Not the posts, but me, at sea, they watch and
          Copy so to be more life-sufficient
               Unto Thee.