The Ancient Modern

Voyage  /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

A beautiful ship
whole and unweathered
vividly painted, richly supplied

could never have reached the other shore.

The first storm tore the sails 
we would have unfurled in retreat.

A tidal wave broke the anchor 
we would have lowered out of fear.

Lightning struck
its oaken deck and carved rails

and our beautiful ship 
broke or burned or burst apart
piece by piece 


on planks and timbers, 
on cushions orphaned
from once-luxurious beds, 
on boxes empty of food and wine

we had no choice but continue,
carried along the tide.

With scarred hands and glazed eyes
wet, cold, clinging to debris,

our desperation sharpened 
and our endurance ossified.
And we discovered

in no other way 
could want of comfort be killed
and misinformed expectation
be washed from our minds.  

When we arrived
(how many months or years the voyage!)
we came ashore with nothing
but gratitude.

Kingly in our poverty,
wise in our humility:
only then were we ready to receive 
our promised Home

All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2021 by Joshua Alan Sturgill. All rights reserved.

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