Southern Ocean

(i)

 

black the sea and blacker yet the night
no star to ease the crushing dark
no light to steer by;

and god said

let there be storm,

 
(ii)
terrible water mountains, unseen yet felt, yet heard
and below, full fathoms and ghosts
of mariners long lost in lore;

but dead men watch at this hour
all others thrown,

drowned in sleep

no dutchman here only screaming air
sucking breath

from a salt whipped watch-keeper;
palsied vessel shudders with each dive, metal

groans fatigue and engines hammer

and screw churns space.

pounding hull, deck awash and foamy,
burrowing into swell, this steel behemoth
a brittle speck upon hell’s surface.

 

ocean flattened by hurricane’s breath
god’s exhalation;

 

(iii)

 

loneliness is solid; fear is real;
death waits within the next surge as hulls creak, crack,
a broken hogged back nightmare

and every sailor’s love is every sailor’s horror;
the sea, the sea, my love, my mistress
my killer.