‘Heart’ by Elizabeth Stelling
Response by Tyson West
Psst… Hey Sailor, Up Here.
Port of Call—Seattle
If old soldiers never die,
What happens to old sailors?
Sea breezes never run aground restlessing
Past the roaring forties, into the false fifties or solitary sixties
And an old sailor still dreams of striding the surf
On the long shot island fading on the cracked and yellowing chart
Where the dead man’s gold lies buried for sure.
So sprawl in red weather whiskers mottled and grey
Dreaming of young lions on the African beach,
Of the brown thrust of the Amazon into the loins of the old Atlantic
Hoping to catch a tyger in the rummy mist.
Some how geriatric gobs always drift off alone
On long walks on the beach
Wondering about the navigator’s sobriety instead of their own,
And why the tree stump decays
With a hole in the shape of a heart.
Old sailors never die
They just keep sailing through
The heart on the horizon
Toward the fonds and lanai
Concealing the laughter of the bare breasted native girls
And unfound pieces of eight.
Port of Call—Kyoto
winter wind stump torn
sea framed in a heart shaped hole
nothing shapes white waves
Port of Call—Marseilles
Once I abide in love, I’ve dwelt in joy,
While suffering the strange shapes of decay.
My tree, I watched the sea and sand destroy
As I abide in love. I dwell in joy;
Winds rasped and cut her slow grown wood to toy
A void into a heart shaped hole and play
When I abide in love, I’ll dwell in joy
While admiring the strange shapes in decay.