Our heaving vessel plies parlous waters,
though you’d never know it by looking at us,
a motley crew of commercial missionaries
semiconscious of sliding crates of satin or fustian,
and old-time agents representing sundry purveyances
destined for marts inland and overseas,
the lot of us lost in discrete meditations,
sedated by the regular roar of swelling waves
so that while the craft thrusts forward we drift
back into memory’s remit, navigating emotional
islets and inlets, sifting through freight latent
and cached in the argosy of the mind,
disrupted only by spray borne on the mistral.
The captain sounds the horn as we breach
the natural harbor and gain sight of the nearing pier,
a clarion call awakening crew and passengers
to the bustling berths, wharves, and warehouses
dead ahead, stirring even the most introspective
amongst us to cast shoreward glances
and rue the demise of scarce moments
of reflection spared by our workaday regimes.
We move in a herd stern to bow, debouching
onto the dock where stevedores await to comb
hulls and unload holds of precious cargoes
unsettled yet none the worse for wear.
Daybreak cedes to morn as we disperse
variously amid the metropolitan hubbub,
stilled within by the secret insights of twilight.