Wednesday, February 7, 2018

"The Vessels" by Alessio Zanelli, Frequent Contributor & Poet of the Week

The Vessels
Alessio Zanelli 

The eternal spring is long gone.
Clear, blue skies and round, white clouds hung on high
like a huge painting on the wall—
our background, our sanctuary, our certainty.
Today we barely recognize them when they peep
out of the frantic strip of modernity’s crazy settings.

We used to run barefoot in the floodplain,
make hideouts of bushes,
pretend to be lost in the poplar plantations,
go hunting for snakes in the grass and frogs in the ponds,
throw together rafts to come down the streams,
forget that someone was waiting for us at home.
Masters of the land and warders of the water.
Free to scamper at will but in awe of the river.
We rarely reached its shore—
it had to be a rite, a visit to pay only on special occasions.

Now that river’s water has flowed to the sea,
and with it all of our boats, 
The shabbiest ones like those perfectly equipped.
Now they are all vessels
somewhere out there over the ocean.
All—more or less—with the hull salt-eaten
and the sails weather-beaten.
The most still hold a course, some roll adrift.
Some have gone to port to stay.
A few have sunk.

And now we are all captains,
definitely equal in rank,
with the hands on the wheel, compass and monocular in the pocket,
a strange sparkle in the eyes.
Some with a crew, some without.
Some with stowaways or castaways aboard.
We often scan the horizon without really knowing why.
All of us with dampish planks thick a few inches
between our feet and water deep thousands of feet.
Now the land wards us and the water masters us.

my comrades—
I wish you fair wind.
Do have a safe journey.
Whatever your journey’s end.

Poet’s Notes:  This is a poem on friendship and how it changes in time from childhood through maturity or, better, how our perception of it changes. Friends may come and go no matter how close they are. Some of them still seem to be so close even though we haven’t seen them in ages, some have gone astray, and some have simply gone…

Editor’s Note:  I did not read this one right away as a metaphor for friendship, rather as one of losing the magical wonder of childhood.  Either way, it is a beautiful piece, an honor to publish. 

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