Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Another New World, Josh Ritter

Clearly I have none of my own words to share, so I'm forced to share others that I find touching.

The leading lights of the age all wondered amongst themselves what I would do next; after all that I'd found in my travels around the world was there anything left?

"Gentlemen", I said, "I've studied the maps, and if what I'm thinking is right, there's another new world at the top of the world for whoever can brave through the ice."

I looked round the room in that way I once had and I saw that they wonted belief...So I said, "All I've got are my guts and my God"...Then I paused..."and the Annabelle Lee."

Oh the Annabelle Lee, I saw their eyes shine; the most beautiful ship in the sea.
My Nina, My Pinta, My Santa Maria, my beautiful Annabelle Lee.

That spring we set sail as the crowds waved from shore and on board the crew waved their hats, but I never had family, just the Annabelle Lee, so I'd never had cause to look back.
I just set the course North and I studied the charts, and toward dark I drifted toward sleep, and I dreamed of the fine deep harbor I'd find past the ice for my Annabelle Lee.

After that it got colder the world got quiet; it was never quite day or quite night, and the sea turned the color of sky turned the color of sea turned the color of ice, 'til at last all around us was vastness, one vast glassy desert of arsenic white. The waves that once lifted us sifted instead into drifts against Annabelle's sides.

The crew gathered closer; at first for the comfort each morning would bring a new set of the tracks in the snow leading over the edge of the world... 'til I was the only one left.

After that it gets cloudy, but it feels like I lay there for days or maybe for months. But Annabelle held me, the two of us happy just to think back on all we had done. We talked of the other new worlds we'd discover; she gave up her body to me, and as I chopped up her mainsail for timber I told her of all that we still had to see.

As the frost turned her moorings to nine-tail and the wind lashed her sides in the cold, I burned her to keep me alive every night in the lover's embrace of her hold.

I won't call it "rescue" what brought me back to the old world to drink and decline, and pretend that the search for another new world was well worth the burning of mine.

But sometimes at night in my dreams comes the singing of some unknown tropical bird, and I smile in my sleep thinking Annabelle Lee has finally made it to another new world.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

So Runs the World Away

This man is a poet through and through. How can any one person be so multiply gifted?

It's a hungry world out there; even the wind will take a bite. I can feel the world circling, sniffing round me in the night. The lost sheep grow teeth, forsake the lambs and lie with the lions.

The living is desperate precarious and mean and getting by is so hard that even the rocks are picked clean. The bones of small contention are the only food the hungry find; where the thistles eat the thorns and the roses have no chance. The sky's so cold and clear the stars might stick you where you stand, and you're only glad it's dark because you might see the master's hand; you might cast around forever and never find the peace you seek.

For every cry in the night somebody says, "Have faith! Be content inside your questions"
Tell me, what's the point of light when you have to strike a match to find?

So throw away those lamentations; we both know them all too well.
If there's a book of jubilations we'll have to write it for ourselves.
So come and lie beside me darling, and let's write it while we still got time.

So if you got a light, hold it high for me.
I need it bad tonight, hold it high for me in that lonesome place.
With all the hurt that I've done that can't be undone, hold it high for me.
Light and guide me through; I'll do the same for you,
Hold it high for me; I'll hold it high for you,
Because I know you've got your own valley to walk.
Though it's dark as death and then gets darker, though your path is blocked, I'll hold it high for you through the thieves and rocks and keep you safe from harm.

-Josh Ritter