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The book The House of the World has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and is now available on Amazon.

The Whistle Wing

Where you live child of sail.
Breathing in your slumber
against the pier.
Your open body beckoning.
The swell of passing wakes
rolling into the slip,
moving your hold in a gentle rock,
The Whistle Wing.
To a boy that meant
my mother of white sails.
Drum of my feet and the echo
of your heart
as I fell from the wharf
to the trellis of your floor,
in the bottom.
The bay smelled of algae.
Green dank sweat
from the water in your hold,
keeping your ribs tight and seaworthy.

You were more than a boat,
a sailor on the bay.
You were a ship,
gargantuan in the proportions
of your limbs.
The great breast of your hull,
the sturdy masts of seasoned express.
Regal beyond the proportions
of Sandusky Bay,
yet graceful as a leaf falling in the wind.
When we sailed in you,
it was passing into a world
beyond sun and wind.
We were entering a sea
where only the Whistle Wing
could go.
Subliminal cold and the fire
of glacial light.

We were in a different kindred silence.
Only the rush of sound
passing along the prow,
and the slap of the Whistle Wing’s bow
possessing the power in the dark wave
of the water,
left us liberated,
rising above the dimensions of the earth,
into the powers of air and water
belonging only to the ship.
Its three sails eclipsing the clouds.
The tiller controlling the powerful surge
of its body as it passed
before those who lived around Sandusky Bay.
Among those eyes that viewed
that stretch of gray expanse,
the dark country of that space.
Who saw the ship’s three sails
wide as the wings of a great heron,
passing before them.
The rare singularity of a spirit
that owned the reach it flew in.
Our blessed Whistle Wing
carrying us in its voyages
of imaginal destiny.

Published inIndex of all Poems