Saturday, March 29, 2008


Some hands are day-sailers, kept trim and neatly tended.
On a perfect day, when the sea is glass
and a gentle breeze carries ships from shore
they might be lured from pockets
to pull a sheet or tend a jib,
under fearful eye lest a nail be nicked.

My own are skipjacks.
Nails nicked and cut short,
their skin hard and worn from water and coarse rope,
they know nothing of lotions, pockets or fearful eye
as they hoist mainsail and jib and tend tiller in all winds.

*The skipjack is a Chesapeake Bay sail-powered work boat and the name comes from an archaic English term, meaning an "inexpensive yet useful servant."

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