Low tide at the Claddagh
And all the boats lie limpid ,
Listless . Beached and lifeless as the grey capstone pier
Tethered with drooping ropes
Like shackled animals chained in the barn.
The tide rises and at dusk , and
Despite that axiom , not all boats are lifted equally.
The leaking boats ;
Drowned lifeless hulks ,
Fall beneath each onshore wave;
While flighty schooners
Like a chain of fillies
And surging powerboats
Are straining at the bollards ,
Ready for the off .
Boats slip over the horizon
Away from the misery of these wintry shores
To new lands
Of brightly colored birds
And crimsoned hopes and pink-bubbled possibilities .
And some oil tankers pull away
From the docks in search of the loneliness
Only sailors seek out
Like soldiers fleeing life to the battlefield
Where to they charge in a masquerade of audacity.
The moon is full tonight
So full it dazzles all but a star and a planet looking south ;
All but Sirius which is too bright to fail
And Jupiter which is too princely-vain to miss this dark parade
Under the dark and misty sky ,making its own conceited charade
I think of the leaking boats which didn't rise
With that tide which that lifts all boats equally
But like the poor they are consumed by tide and time ;
Subsumed by both ;they are only really boats
Like stopped clocks are really clocks only twice a day.
And the tide leaves them stranded in the false pretense of their betters.
And horizons rich and exotic far away
Beyond their reach or imagination
And all the stars that twinkled bright in the darkness before the bubble burst
Are overpowered by the ferocity of this wash of mercuric moonlight
And the canopy which delights
Only holds in her glow the brazen grabbing wealth
Which survived the crash.
How strange for those who soared so high among the stars
To have fallen like Lucifer on the mud banks of greed and misfortune
In perhaps unequal measure .
Take heed ; some boats will rise with each tide.
Some to glide over the seas to new horizons
Others stuck lifeless on the mud banks
Waiting for the tide to go out once more
To give a hint of their one-time grandeur
Before being holed repaired and then abandoned .
And if you bask in the mercurial glare on moonlight
There are stars , brighter that our sun beneath above the canopy
Waiting their turn to twinkle and bring joy back to the lifeless sky
Of jealous and greedy men ,
Who lurk there in the clouds to make
A fortune from some unfortunate's missed opportunities
And bless themselves for being so bright
When all they've done is holed another's boat
Left a stranded human on the sands of time
Left them all on barren shores of lost causes
Destitution, penury ,misfortune and misery.
Their tide too will ebb
And their stars grow dim
And their boats too will find mudflats
Under their hulls
And strand their boats in the starless night.
And then from the sea-fog at the Claddagh pier listen out !
You may hear the wash of ghostly vessels risen from the dark
To sail again in glory ,on the tide of restitution .
Hear the cheery laughter of the stranded souls once more risen
And prayers at last answered .
we live in the gutter
but gaze at the stars .