--------------- Bearings
 
And in other news tonight, the prince
Has taken a bride in what amounts to, yes,
A storybook wedding, the generalissimo continues
His eleven-month crackdown on dissidents,
The Dow Jones Industrials are up by eight
In active trading—we'll have all this and more—
 
Pipes the tiny plastic radio in the hand of the sailor
Who has waged war with offshore winds,
Sideways-driving rains, since noon.
It is night now. Beyond sight of land
He can no longer see through tears of salt
Anything but circling, pressing vengeance;
 
His compass overboard in yet another slip
Of hand or foot—one was so much like another
Till then—some leaky hatches, oil-slick paint,
A bit of flapping canvas are all the world he has
To keep afloat, the tiller by its willed refusals
Tending already to a violent freedom.
 
Suddenly there is a letup, a brief reprieve:
Even an ocean's fury will catch its breath.
He takes the radio from beneath his dripping slicker,
Turns the sound to the face of twisting wind,
Tries to reckon the elemental difference:
Farther out, farther in.
 
The roads are slippery so be careful,
Now cooking tips are coming up at ten, and we have
Plenty of music for you. This goes out
To Bob and Lou, the Highlights's new
Would you dance this dance with me, baby,
Would you dance this dance with me!
 
The skipper extracts the vaguest sense
Of behind which cloud and swell and heaving shadow
Home is, tugs the slippery sheet to trim
The ravaged slice of sail remaining,
And falls off quickly to take another crashing wave
Bow on. In the howling, homeless silence, rain resumes.
 
 
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