Their souls restless and wave-smitten, I dreamt
Of sailing with sea dead, attempting to find their
Course again, existing in realms close to ours,
Oft merging and retreating, they gathered in
Familiar places, where they once fished, small
Hamlets and villages, bays and seas, vaporous
Forms on desolate beaches wandering from sight.
On upturned boats, we spoke as old shipmates,
Mending rotten nets, parceling unraveled lines,
Spinning graveyard yarns, occasional drink and
Spit into warmth-void fires. Remarkably, they took
Me for another shade, seeking solace amongst
Swirling viscous waves, long-drowned companions,
My night possessed with sea-wrecked tales.
They pressed me to navigate their sailing ship,
Leaking vessel of shuddering planks, sails in
Tatters torn, forever rock-crashed on the River
Styx. Accursed, they raised wind-ripped rags,
Thrusting a compass to my hand, its needle
Stuck fast in blood and rust, no headway made
In water oil-dark, beset with lost sea souls.
Yet for one desolate night we sailed, men con-
Demned, no music of ocean wind to soothe their
Curdled brains. At the wheel they steered never
Budging from reigns of death, ever fastened to
Hard shores, they swayed and swore like sailors
Do, grim death, no sky or sun, they languished
Brine-beaten on this eventide with sea dead.
When I struggled to leave, they grabbed at me
With hands of rotting flesh, turning my night to
Trance. Their captain I became, cutting heaving
Lines, I filled their existence with woe, for we
Sailed the River Styx amongst sea-serpents, no
Wind or hope, all through the black of night we
Fought the wheel. Alas! Sailing with sea dead.