Poland’s Lament

12, 19 April 2009

In beginning was the reason
In harbour lay the Gull
On the floor of Poland’s cabin lay the hatchet
That he drove into her skull

So the Gull sailed out from Cape Town
And we saw our stars were good
And in the morning Poland used that greasy-handled axe
To whittle wood
And he sang…

If you want me to be handsome
If you want me to be kind
Wish it on the wind with a whisky, woman
And kiss me when you’re blind

And the crew lash down the topsail
As dusk beats down the sun
And Poland walks the deck without a whisper
While they’re sounding off the gun

With a rip tide rising and the Roger slung
Poland dims the light
And he’s talking to her body like a counterfeit
Lady of the night

The night we crossed the tropics
Fedallah asked him why
And Poland took his hand and said
‘Why care at all for Reasons when we die?’

So Poland kept his secret
But it might be like I’m told:
To feel a body’s warmth is but to understand
That part of you is cold.

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