of grace and beauty

Notice that vessels of all kinds that require constant attention and maintenance, careful systems monitoring on the part of a pilot to bring out the best performance… these vessels all sport vast control panels. Captains refer to their ships using feminine pronouns. They are things of grace and beauty. What ever happened to the love a captain should have for his ship? Is this a romance lost on our day? He must love her. Only if he truly loves the vessel that carries him to all points on earth, that keeps him afloat through all storms and calms, that is an oasis in times of doldrums, a cradling shelter for the weary traveler… only if he is willing to care for her with all his heart and energy to the point that exceeds the willingness of all others aware of that ship, only then is he worthy to command her and her crew to go places and do things never imagined.
This is an exquisite metaphor for relationships, and doesn’t seem as though it would popular today as the male would seem the dominant partner. But such dominance has never been the case in the shared purposes of this partnership.
Women were thought to bring bad luck when they came aboard a ship. Superstition had it that the ship became jealous of the other lady, (notice I say the other lady with emphasis on ‘other’ as if I really mean it!) especially if the lady was the captain’s wife. This makes perfect sense when you consider how the flesh-and-blood woman would distract the captain from his duties to see that the ship was cared for to as high a degree as ever: impossible if attempting ensure his spousal unit comfort.”You love your smelly old ship more than you love me,” the wife would whine. A loud creaking sound would come from below decks as if the smelly old ship acknowledged the perfumed witch of a captain’s wife, echoing her point of view. This is what would happen:  Checklists would get hurried through, knots would be left untied, gear would not get stowed, rowdiness would go unchecked… next thing you would know she’d be taking on water and the rudder would be jammed. The ship could do nothing but go in circles while she and all aboard her sank.

Related posts (maybe):

Shuttle Debris

Such a beast as these jagged shards stacked amid flighty
Scientific questions, sponge bathed lifeless limbs, stretcher,
Armed military parade, wide load National Guard solemn
Caravan toward hanger of reassembly, gathered in mighty
Clipboard clutched white lab coat face-masked lecturer
Cantering the melancholy catalog into microphone column,
Filling our grid of numbers like garden rows in entropy,
A handsome multi-layer sieve tucked away in particles
And pieces, having gone the way of our dust, from cosmos
To cosmos, whatever that means, rearticulate model in 3-D
Except for all the bits hoarded away in newspaper articles,
Old ladies’ pastures and wooded acreage where we almost
Gave up looking for cow pie mushrooms of hallucinogenic
Quality just a little later in the year, oh, so long ago in VW
Bug, arm stretched out a mile or two (it didn’t matter after
The first mile, anyway) when the silly fungi halls of scenic
Destiny turned the telescope so I didn’t want to trouble you
With how far down was the floor, anyway, beam and rafter
Heights were my perceptions on the way to the pillow talk,
The talking pillow I had farted into earlier that day, to spite
And punish the fool who would later lay his head deeply
Into the shaped foam edge lined along the harvest’s stalk
Having yielded this baggage a place in the pages of night
Readings, not wondering about the toxic nature so steeply
Hung away, clarified and cautioned to all, the shredded bits
As well as parts and passions could well contain the cause
Behind the ripping apart of lives, poisons remaining intact
When as a sum flowed a thread which our belonging knits
A pattern unraveled, discernable as a lens through gauze,
We take our softly focused problems back to Ma and Pa as
If there was anything they wanted for us to do other than to
Grow up once and for all, to not be the children born
To them in the awkward times of least expecting, malaise
And joy, all circuits are busy, traffic jams while rendezvous
Are orders of the decade, as we carry toxic, shreds of torn
Feelings toward each other, scattered across fields for days

Windy Road

In the tall green; way beyond what needed mowing,
The sun could have blown the lightning of your hair
Again, a presence like a sheet snapping in the wind
Flung across my face as though a crooked blowing
Motion was all it took to bring us without our wits
To this condition of quiet restraint, a delicate find
In these days of gusting discussions on the airwaves
And cables underground, under tables and chairs
Matching couches with overstuffed cushions frayed
Like leather faces buried in armpits and hairy caves
Ashamed of being seen in such poses, humid lairs
From dragons breath and all night pacifying rants,
A collage of threadbare carpets worn most heavily
In entryway and exit, both the same, as history declares
The wooden lead-painted home of my childhood irrelevant
As the storms it withstood when our nuclear family
Took refuge amidst the spent tape rolls and plywood,
As if such trifles would have done us any good the instant
The big one came and went along abandoned roads,
Dancing stop signs twisting and shouting a misunderstood
Four-letter plea to the unseen turbulent atmosphere that felt
Like your stinging hair, rain wet, you squeezed
Past me close enough to feel your breath
Rustle my eyelashes, parting your lips, left, and knelt
Alone on higher ground, above the seas and the slightly
Taller buildings whose bowels have grown beneath
Our cities and streams, mapped with the architecture
Of the blind, built with hidden lights and unseen rays,
(This is really going on, by the way) this, in a place where
Seasons change slowly, a subtle drop in temperature,
Months, weeks, nights without nights, days without days,
Ice flows into a rising ocean, a passage from here to there,
Legions of beautiful and pure spill into poison surface
Like electromagnetic waves moving through toxic gasses,
Towers every thirty six miles so line of sight flag waving
Will tell us all we need to know, except how to replace
Lost embraces, lovemaking sacrificed for the masses,
Converted into energy, photos that we won’t be saving
Unless, of course, we bury them away from sun and wind
And rain, at the end of Windy Road, just across the bridge.

A Similar Thing

The radio said a Cessna made an emergency landing

ont the same side of the freeway I was driving on

minutes earlier. This happened in Gallup

on the way to Salt Lake City from Dallas. So,

I have convinced myself I can make something of it

because one can take such liberties in poetry, the way a gull

dives for food at the stern of a ferry

while crossing the bay. A similar thing happened

five years later while driving back from cold nights

in San Francisco, the sea made me homesick

for the coast of Texas, Baytown, where I cut my foot

on the beach. There, I saw two men pulling

a sack of seaweed from the water. A boy my age

had drowned. The undertow, brought him there

from a mile away. He shouldn’t have been out anyway,

the water was too cold. He was only doing what I would have

had I not seen him blue and swollen.

But I cut my foot and left a thread of blood

to my aunt’s back porch. She told me to wade in the ocean

because salt water was good for hurts.

The water was too cold that day, I said.

And so, driving back from San Francisco I saw that Cesna

parked on the side of the highway like it belonged there.

And there was no news of it, because the night before

John Lennon was murdered; the radio played nothing

but his music and talk of his death.

Soon south of the Great Salt Lake, the smell

made me think of where I had been the day before.

Then, the radio said something about a Cessna

making an emergency landing. It was too cold

that day for wading.

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