It was a hunger for waves —
____________________________great swells of them
pulling at the landless horizon —
________________________________which brought me to this deck:
my eyes tired
_______of burnt ground cracked from heat;
my skin, of red sand;
____________________my lungs, of dust and fumes.
All the cities of the world
___________________________were in my pores,
their teeming markets,
______________________the weight of their stones,
Once, averting my face,
________________________I was snagged by a lure
of salt and spume,
____________________an absence of faces,
squabbles of gulls in open sky,
________________________________ the satisfaction of coastlines receding;
and began dreaming of solitary solace
________________________________________________in the white flap of unfurled
__________________________spinnaker slicing through air,
nights brimming with stars,
____________________________an alertness to the moods
of wind and current,
_____________________the dance of clouds —
not to escape land
___________________but to turn towards a life quiet of men,
to dwell on immensity
____________________instead of minutiae.
Saraband was in the docks
wooden deck and railings
_________as all things await their rightful moment.
How easily I swivelled
________________________and moored myself to her!
How she wooed me,
____________________anchor in perpetual motion,
afloat on a pulse of water,
____________________________on vast blue uncertainties,
where the questions,
_________________Odysseus reared in my veins
at the sight of her,
____________________rough fingered and crusty,
flexing stiffness from his joints,
_____________________ready to voyage
without the lure of any sirens.
____________________________I fell into a blue open,
a hundred shades of grey,
____________________________my face weathering in sun, in spray.
The log recounts my fears —
_____________________and exhilaration —
the sea’s stark and terrible beauty,
its repository of watery graves.
Riding slant-decked bronco on bucking waves,
______________________________________________________awaiting the teeth of rocks,
the terrible sound of their scrapes,
___________________________________only white-foamed mortality
was my companion.
_________________________In Halong Bay, becalmed,
I drifted in a cocoon of white haze for days,
of unseen islands all around.
____________________________Along the Great Barrier Reef
a pair of humpbacks broke the sea’s skin,
The Mediterranean, shameless as always,
_______________________________________________arrayed herself beneath
a luminous light,
her turquoise and emerald jewels,
___________________________________her pendants of islands.
Soon – re-provisioned,
________________repairs made to the rigging,
__________barnacles scraped off the hull –
I will leave this harbour,
__________________________this temporary lull,
to once more trawl the sea’s gifts
___________________________________from soothing roll to violent squall,
windless calm to billowing sail:
__________________________________and watch a green phosphorescence
in moonless dark
__________________twinkling the yacht’s wake through the Sunda Strait,
wind-sing the dawn
___________________to an accompaniment of flying fish
_____________or a circus of dolphins arcing, racing, tag-tailing
_____________ I reach again
__________________________ to grasp stony fingers of land.