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The Lovely Frigate Bird From My Past
(04 October 1943 / Germany)

The Lovely Frigate Bird From My Past

I was the captain standing on the bridge
surrounded by the waters of the sea,
on the horizon, on a lonely granite ridge
remained the memory of all it was to be.

Confined to clouds that would descend at random times
to write the pages of a tiny, wrinkled soul,
a soul of melancholy, whispering fine rhymes
and searching for a flower, pole to pole.

A frigate bird, excited and confused,
flew in from starboard, landing on the sail,
he seemed to smile, the feathers near his beak amused,
then caught his breath and said, 'my Captain, I have mail.'

'Well, I'll be'.... perhaps another fleeting thought
crossed just beneath a shock of icy hair,
what could it be that this fine feathered creature brought?
It was an airmail letter, trembling lightly in the air.

I had been standing now for hours (I am fit) ,
but something told me it was time to take a rest,
Bacardi crates make perfect chairs on which to sit,
I took the specs from the small pocket of my vest.

'Holy Poseidon', it was something from my past,
so many miles, so many years and still it found.......
I watched the hemp how it now fluttered on the mast
and there were drops that fell, right near me, to the ground.

The hand was soft and had drawn one small heart of ink,
down near the bottom of each page, as if to say
that crossing oceans and the times there is a link,
I have a ticket for this journey, may I stay?

It was sheer arrogance of me, I know it well,
as it resides within the attic of my mind,
though hard for others, I can always, always tell
that it competes with my desire to be kind.

'The old Romantic', said my Auntie way back then,
'a hardened shell surrounds the softness of cream cheese, '
I'd told her off, of course, that chubby mother hen,
and here I stood, reading a letter in the breeze.

Well, I revised my thoughts and asked the bird to wait,
composing words that were the real thing, at last.
And now it was, on the high ocean, getting late,
I sent a message, filled with hope into my past.

I framed the pages with a hundred little bees,
all making honey just to sweeten human lives,
I wrote that I was in no mood to taunt and tease,
and that I knew about all husbands and all wives.

The title was, if you will bear with me a minute:
An Invitation To The Spirit Of A Friend,
the rest was easy, all the other meanings in it
were just myself, and I was happy in the end.

And then I went back to the stern end of my ship,
washed both my hands with salty waters from the sea,
dried them with care (it wouldn't do if they did drip) ,
if she said yes to holding hands across the sea.

Here on the bridge there was no other who could steer,
this foolish ship, it was MY odyssey alright,
and from the bottom of the topmast I could hear
a mermaid's song that filled the stillness of the night.

The Moon had nodded off, and rested on a cloud,
a planet, so oblivious to fate
the voice so full of love, though hardly loud,
was singing just for me, there, sitting on my crate.

I dreamed of leaves of Elms on frosty streets,
then with a startle I awoke, when it was Dawn,
I felt like Auden or his kindred spirit Keats,
but it was silent and the Mermaid's voice had gone.

User Rating: 5,0 / 5 ( 1 votes ) 1

Pablo Neruda

If You Forget Me

Comments (1)

This is one good tale. I read it last night and again this morning. Pure poetry. Loved the 'The Moon had nodded off'.