Over the shores of empty waves,
He stood in knee-deep thoughts elate
And sought the deep. Before him, only
A river rushed; a hapless boat
Was battling the river, lonely.
And on the miry, misty banks
Some huts appeared in lonely ranks:
A respite for the battered stranger
And cover from the looming danger
Of the invisible sun’s fog.
A darkened cauldron, blind to light,
Was ever vocal. And ventured he:
“I’ll build a palace on these waters
And cut to size the empty seas.
I’ll put the savage on his knees,
Catch empty waters in my can
And slay fish yet unknown to man.”
So thought the five-year-old explorer
As he cast nets into the stream
Scared little fish battled the tide,
But were caught up inside the ream.
In granite the river was clothed
Bridges unfolded over waters;
In dark-green gardens, by the plotters,
The islands once again arose,
But once again the seas eroded
And dwindled masses, old republics,
Before the feet of savage foes.
The sundry ships bobbed in the water
While in the depths a dark marauder
Lurked, waiting for the coming prey.
Scared denizens would curse the day
When came the beast, half underwater
And half-above; the island’s plotters,
Bereft of hope, sought friendly shores
Far from the island’s frozen kingdom,
Far from the land’s thalassic foes.
But rose again the vile intruder,
As though half-saint, half-death colluder
And the ships turned back to the shore
And ventured silent evermore.
And fell a great civilization.
The isolated island-nation
Whose banks a sinusoidal wave
Would pound into a frothy grave
For ships descending on the shore
Was world-forsaken without more.
And the remaining fishermen
Turned to their cursed work again
In need of comfort and a stranger,
Who, unafraid of looming danger,
Would face the challenge ever-nearing:
A hero for the dying light,
Danger and hardship never-fearing,
And ready for the mortal fight.
Until the day pass through the land
When gods and monsters took their stand:
Alight in raindrops the sky, dark
Was pierced by an ethereal spark
A sonorous grating pounding boom
A prelude of encroaching doom.
Far out from shore a watchman brood
Some ships in lonely solitude
Aligned in sultry rows of ten
A paragon of fishermen:
The earthly keepers of the seas
With pregnant masts in frozen breeze,
They ventured out to waters free
And were sent wayward to the sea.
And midst the void, harpoons in hand,
Sent ships to pierce the icy lands
And cast their nets into the ocean
The fear-struck keepers of devotion:
A bonded cavalcade of men,
The woe-begotten fishermen,
The lonely guardians of zen
And demigods to other men.
The sunless storm cast waters down
And sent them up the waves again,
And in a paralytic zen
The frozen, hapless, fearless men
Watched helpless as their ships arose
And from the Adriatic rose
A beast of half a roaring mile.
They battled up the waves awhile,
But were sent headlong in foam sweep
Down to the miry, murky deep
Where the enormous heaving mass
Collapsed on top of them. En mass
The shattered ships splintered and sank
Down to the bottom while a rank
Of dizzied soldiers fighting, clung
For dear life to the lowest rung
Of wooden scraps like half a hull.
And sunken flotsam crates and all
Like hidden shipwrecks half-submerged
Burped from the water and emerged:
Half-fisherman, half ship, half sea,
Half floating nightmare and half dream,
Half-underwater, half above,
Half darkened swan, half pearl-white dove.
The gods and monsters of the deep
Emerged from their unconscious sleep.
While battling the icy sweep
Careworn and sinking to the deep
Where deep inside the icy pot
The murky depths a rage begot:
A string of allies from the jaws
Of Certain Doom fight teeth and claws
A mortal struggle to the end
‘Tween soulless fish, and fearless men
Harpoons in hand and spears like claws
Between the force of soulless jaws
Of predator and fisherman
And a parade held hand in hand
Of gods and monsters took their stand.
So dreamt he as
He caught a fish within the ring
Of his net’s grasp
And thought he “Gotcha!” as he struggled
To keep the fish from breaking free
Until he finally relented
And sent it wayward to the sea
And with a splash said to it, “Grow!
And I’ll return in many winters
Far more formidable a foe.”