AT SEA

When night is foggy, when land is lost from view,
when only foghorns sounding give the sailor
a clue toward dangerous rocks and peril, when
murky weather makes stopping hazardous
and forward progress a risk, when charts and
radar give little comfort, there is nothing
else to do but moor on the vast plain
of waves, to let out line to search blind eyed
for ground, to batten down hatches and go
inside, and there in dark, wait, to sit
out long night, the cresting swells that lift
and drop, the haze that smells of salt and rot
and reaches in through holds thought secured,
the lurching right and left, the creaking beams,
unsteady lamp that swings with flickering light,
the minutes that in day evaporate
but now muggy with memory, last,
ticking away all that went wrong and right,
decisions made, love lost, the parabola
of a life that grew and grew, the wave of promise.