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01 July 2014

The voyage of my far-away friend

For TJ.  

My far-away friend sits in port,
the sails of his ship battered
from storms and sun,
listening to the stories
of the timid locals
and pompous magistrates,
drinking the house wine,
and eating the bean pie
of the melancholy fishwive
with a smile and a wink
of gratitude.

A merchant says that the ship is lost,
that the mast and riggings
will never again drag
my far-away friend's ship
onto the open waves,
that he is stuck in port
to lead a small life
among small lives.
Such news fills
the dock workers
with immense gratitude.

But my far-away friend
has sailed too far
and seen too much
to believe idle speculations,
In the morning,
he casts off,
light breezes teasing
his boat away from land.
His journey will be longer
with such tattered sails,
but his hand never leaves
the old iron rudder,
and the song of the sea
and of life full lived
never leaves his heart.

On he sails,
while timid souls
lament he left
and his far-away companions
rejoice at his voyage
out into tomorrow.

R. R. Shea

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