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.

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