The castaways

penguins-wreck

(Sestina on Sonnet 60)

How like
us, between waves.
Blown towards
uprising or pebbl’d shore,
our holey boat fills in minutes.
buckets ho, hasten.

How our lives hasten —
days like
hours, minutes
lost amid the waves.
On to the pebbl’d shore
our pointless journeying onwards.

What are we drawn towards?
why this hastening?
swapping one pebbl’d shore
for another? One island much like
the next, coconut palms wave
the passing minutes.

On the spur of the minute
you say, ‘Row towards
this headland.’ Yet waves
contrary-wise hasten
to rocks rising like
ruins on the pebbl’d shore.

So this pebbl’d shore
will do, we’ll arrive any minute.
People like
us survive — a lean-to, wind-
rows, a goat or two. At first we’ll hasten
to remember love, love on the waves.

Finally done with the waves,
up from the pebbl’d shore.
Here, hasten
In a minute
there’ll be a bus towards…
anyplace you like.

In the city we told of life on the waves. Celebrities for minutes,
everyone’s aghast at the pebbl’d shore, drifting drifting onwards
Yet now, without the hastening wind we live however we like.


Image: Penguins on the beach and the remains of the wreck of “The Gratitude”, Nuggets Beach, Macquarie Island, 1911, photographer Frank Hurley, State Library of NSW Flickr A sestina (that obsessive form) on Shakespeare’s Sonnet 60.

And here’s Australian singer Alex the Astronaut with Lost (seems appropriate).

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