Lunar light glints through crashing waves,
glimpsed as ghosts that ride descending troughs.
Ships tower as castles, turrets edged in fire,
they rise through smoke like cities caught
between barbarian floods.
Scraped wood shards, frayed ropes hold a reckoning,
shrivelled under Barbary coasts low fever.
A captain dreams of re-fits through each lonely night,
and how in midst of tropic storm he’d never leave her.
Anchored at Sao Tome near the Bight of Biafra,
water cold and pinching as the Brittany Strait.
Giant cranes and pelicans stalk the faded rigging,
Feathers stained from the mud flats of Niagara.
Sails rent, cargo pulled to pieces,
Spice powder stains the stiffened canvas creases.
Seams fissured, planks caked thick with oakum,
while at Berwick Bay a merchant softly spoken,
implores the wind from the office that he leases.