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Ode to those Lost at Sea

Ode to those Lost at Sea
By William Ashbless

Bursting his gravity chains with a full-throat cry,
From his eeled grotto, lunatic, Neptune
Has flung his emerald arms into the sky.
I, afloat with Zephyrous a-billowing the cloth
Am flung into a no-man's land of spray
And crack and hoot amid roiling demons
That twitch our floundering vessel roundabout.
Then, just when that guest of spring winks in,
Helios, calming the waves with an outflung hand,
We rocket off on a mad bedraggled couch,
Our makeshift lifeboat, borne directionless.
What salt-encrusted, green-sea vision is this,
This multitude of disinherit souls
That nest like sea birds all about me?
One speaks: "We are the men Direction scorned
When he handed round charts
Of destiny … our dooms were preordained
And we've no commerce with those of you
Whose courses from the outset were drawn straight
And whose bloody corpses, goggle-eyed, approach us!
Ah! Now at last they come, the Vegetable Gods…
Piping through, with banners
On which are stitched the humiliation of us all.

©James Blaylock and Tim Powers. Reproduced with permission.