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The ship was crammed to bursting:
luggage, lifejackets, jammed benches,
passengers sitting on one another’s laps.
Was this a ferry plying between islands?
We have passed Age’s icy caves
And manhood’s dark and tossing waves
And once these were behind us,
we hugged a coast, and glided
past promontories, cliffside villages,
steep hills slanting down to little harbors.
On each pier a festive group was gathered:
bridal whites, bright bouquets,
black suits and glossy patent leather shoes,
vivid even from a distance,
gleamed in the salty air.
A wedding or a festival?
A mourning or a funeral?
The gathered celebrants in every harbor
waved as we sailed past, and we waved back,
steadily plowing onward. Where and when:
not the right questions. Time
was an element, not a place,
and in and through it on we went,
the landmarks of each life
bobbing in our wake.