Under the silky, star-lit, summer sky
Stood a salty, sea-worn sailor;
And as I sauntered slowly by,
I stopped beside a sea-gull squalor.
The rugged man just watched the sea
In wise, relaxed rigidity;
And I pondered whether he noticed me,
Amidst the sea's intensity.
Waves crashed upon the shore;
The moon shone full and bright.
An hour passed, maybe more,
On that relaxing summer night.
But I deemed it time to go,
For I had things to do.
And then he spoke in voice so low,
To tell me what he knew.
"The waves relax you, do they not?"
He asked without need for answer.
"They have me, since I was a tot."
The water crashed with grace of a dancer.
I stayed there quietly, deep in thought,
Pondering all that was about me;
What it was which God had wrought
And balanced all so delicately.
The sailor seemed so at ease;
An old man with nary a concern.
I asked him, if he please,
Could it be that I could learn?
" 'Tis hardly a well-kept secret,"
He said with sparkle in his eye.
Saying again as his pipe he lit,
" 'Tis like the balance of sea and sky.
"I lead my life as I sail my ship,
Watching all the time the weather,
Lest I let it catch and tip
My vessel floating without tether.
"A job for one, it is not;
My crew helps me keep that feel
For what is right and what is not,
To find and maintain an even keel.
"And so goes my lasting life,
With its own sailing crew
To combat that occasional strife
And keep me from feeling blue.
"They are the people who care for me
In my life so real;
Those who help quite willingly
To maintain an even keel."
The wisened sailor lapsed to silence;
Nearby gulls hung in the air.
It was then I saw the balance
That comes when you really care.
I looked about the sea and sky
To savour it all one last time.
Then I turned to say good-bye
And thank him for sight so fine.
But he had vanished,
I know not where;
And I dearly wished
I could as well fare,
In my life so real,
To maintain an even keel.
15 October 1987
David C Lawrence