Boy at the Bow of a Sailboat

 
For the pulpit is ever
 
this earth's foremost part
 
Herman Melville


Wedged between the pulpit's steel stanchions
I clung one hand to the headstay and conversed,
Hushed or hurried, with the bearded Lord of Breezes.
With the other hand free, I led our sloop
Through sun-knuckled whitecaps as the bow reared
High and shuddered and beat a track to windward.
No one else, I swear, could weather my spray-smacked post,
Not with the lee rail buried and the water hissing past.
Floating, evanescent -- my way-showing palm pulsed
Us forward, out over the Earth's mother of pearl,
My taut little body splashed and willing
Under the eye of the wind to gaze into the tossed shell
Of the future, look back at my faraway father
Wrapped round the tiller, press close to what falls
And keeps falling from the spark-holding throb of the pulpit.