A journal of narrative writing.
The Next Glory

It is difficult not to be intimate, forty-seven Men and one pot at the front of the ship, the Head, and only two sides on a ship and the long, Long hurling months of the whole of us starting out Each with our expectations, our duties, Each with our specialties, but in the end All forced into each others’ jobs, whatever It takes to make progress, to go one more nautical Mile. The sea so flat that the rough of it is welcomed and So rough that the flat of it is welcomed and no one Knowing the midpoint, the exact tottering of change, except Possibly the Captain, who, as the best of us, Still looked like a savage and we would pray every Morning that we would not be savages nor would He and that we brave and collected souls would not Perish on the face of the deep, nor sink beneath it, nor By Leviathan be devoured, nor that our provisions Would run out and that we then might think of one another As prey, though no man would forsake his Christian Heritage and take into his mouth another man’s Flesh. We thought of the evils of our spirit and How only the grace of God could save us from Ourselves. And at times our own base natures Were with us, and surely the demons of the air, All those long months. All those salt Filled days, those nights sleeping in another Man’s sweat. And then Land: a great wash Of clear beach, the sand as white As the throat of our Sovereign, the sand Like fortunes of diamond ground for no good Reason, the sand between our toes so unlike The hardwood of the deck and the keep and the Heat of it unsealing our blood that we had not Known was sealed. The bounty of the trees and Even the smallest of crabs and open fire and The natives were no threat to us, having come To see the claiming of their land for better purposes, Our small boat itself the better of all their navies And our ocean-tested galleon something they had Seen only in clouds and shadows and rituals to untrue, Pagan gods that harrumphed and departed. So of their royal Family we took the child of fourteen or so years seeming Most agreeable from the land to the small boat to the awe of the Ship as our gentle hostage, her finery but simple shells and The crustacean arm of something we had not yet seen, no doubt Native only to this land and soon to be the glory Of our explorations at least until the next glory. We prayed for the bounty of small things and When each man had had his fill of her over the side She went limp and naked and serviced and worn out, But we kept the shells and the crustacean arm and at first Put them on the wheel but soon found There are more where she and her handsome Uncomplicated baubles came from and Praise God it was a long voyage and ever Lasting is His mercy. He has provided us Heathens to comfort us and sustain us and Whose bounty is ours for the appropriation, Having with us God and the Sovereign and soon These natives will appreciate what it is To be civilized by gentlemen in spite Of how greatly worn we are from the crossing.