When I was a youngster, we would take a cottage
Up on Lake Superior, and I remember how,
As we took our little catamaran out on the not-too-open water,
We would pass by the gray, hulking freighters
Loaded with ore from the Mesabi, their anchors
Easily two or three times the size of our entire craft.
I remember my father saying that such a mass of chain and lead
Should be sufficient to secure any ship against any particular come-what-may,
And how my grandfather (who had worked the iron boats himself,
His hands full testament to the fact that we were not old money)
Fairly snorted, When the winter throws its worst as these waters,
Nothing forged by Vulcan himself could keep these boats upright.
I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the pictures of the moon landing
On the TV a while back (I never thought I’d see the day,
And I didn’t make it under the wire by much). My son was there,
As much a stranger as anyone sharing blood and a name can be, to be truthful,
And he asked—a bit peevishly, I hasten to add—what in blazes
Could be so damnably funny about such a portentous moment.
To think, all the time and effort to get there, all in the name
Of reaching some place, of seeing some thing new and wonderful
That mankind had never experienced before,
And it turned out to be nothing more
Than the dust of massive boulders undone by the forces of heaven knows what
And great piles of ash and dirt as far as the eye could see.
Why, I’d have told them we’d already made that journey millions of times over.