Tar drips down through splintered timbers
as he nimbly plots routes around the Azores.
Carefully makes his model maps in limbo,
charting every straying footfall while he prays,
where cement and machéed mountains
spread over forests' undiscovered creatures.
Cabin gently sways in Saltwick Bay.
Lamprey and hagfish swimming in glass cases,
Tackle twines through breathless gills and stiffened fins.
Observing charts whose pins plot nameless courses,
Oceans where daylight stops and endless night begins.
"We will leave at dawn for six months passage,
The half-deposit lies in a merchant bank,
Acorès, Madeira, then Fernando del Noronha
to place fresh water in the tanks".
"As a kindness to myself, I'll cover favors"
His long-faced daughter idly turned the quill,
"I'll fill the shelves with necessary purchase -
Indigo plumed birds and pickled ginger,
Cloth of gold, brocade and oil of dill."
Outside the mast stood firm among the rigging
against a clear sky, flat and unforgiving.
Far beyond the known world's outer edges
stretch caravanserai and winding camel trains
across the vast and empty plains, stretching
from Jidah to the walls of Dar-Es- Salaam.