Poem with Albatross

Lawrence Raab

Poem with Albatross

As idle as a painted ship

Upon a painted ocean.

—Coleridge

If you set your mind adrift, and let the wind

take it into deep water, and leave it

becalmed, something will come out

of that stillness—maybe a plover

or a ter n, maybe a tree fastened to the edge

of a garden, and then the cliffs,

gulls wheeling and crying above their nests,

and then the broken glass of the ocean

smashing the rocks, while far from shore

a small wooden boat is floating

above a hundred fathoms of dark water,

a boat in which a man has either given up

all hope of rescue and collapsed

into the shadow cast by the descending wings

of a large mournful bird, or else just closed

his eyes for a moment, and drifted off.

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