The Vagaries Of Piracy

(for Ed Hart)


The transition from sea to sand becomes more subtle

With the passing of time—beaches snaggle-toothed

By erosion, surf chock-a-block with detritus from shore—and the riptides,

Subtle yet sinister, which we once derided as no more

Than hatfuls of rain, now extract from us a prudent deference

As we haul the rowboats to shore.

Clarity is no more easily found on open water;

The simple act of picking off those prizes

Which sat ripe upon the horizon

Is now muddled, confused—those vessels we spy

A hodge-podge of flags and odd registries,

Covert agreements as to which cargoes

Enjoy our de facto protection

Constantly shifting under our feet.

And as we face another uncertain night’s sail

(The stars unfixed, maps and charts hopelessly out of date)

We stare at the setting of the sun,

Our convictions and our conveniences indistinguishable in the glare.


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