Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Falling Off the Edge of the World


Falling Off the Edge of the World

I have done it more than once.
I sail too far, dream too hard.
There is nothing out there but the sun
and the broken bones of old mariners,
bold and drunk,
who lost sight of the stars
when they could not remember home.

But I have learned to climb water,
ascend the rolling falls
that washed Greek heroes into oblivion.
Back home, you wait by a fire
that needs no kindling but the would
and should that is your simple faith.
I will walk up the quiet lane,
open the door next to the yellow window,
and we will tell each other stories
of love and deep regret.

You will chide me for my foolishness
but forgive me.
You have always loved a man
who dreamed too heard.
But this time I will burn my shoes
and live the gospel of should.
The sun belongs beyond the farthest latitude—
not me.
Never again will I fall from the edge
of a world that looms so large in your eyes.

Picture: Public Domain (Poem: Copyright, William Hammett, 2006)

14 comments:

Bernita said...

But one wonders if he will stick to that resolve and always ignore the lure of the far places.
Lovely poem, Bill.

Billy said...

Excellent point, Bernita. In Tennyson's poem "Ulysses," the fabled hero returns to Ithaca and his wife but cannot rid his blood of adventure and wanderlust. The old routines are too boring for him after ten years of returning from the Trojan War. Adrenaline is as addictive as anything else.

jason evans said...

An epic push and pull.

Perhaps she craves the his gusting winds nearly as much as he craves conjuring them.

Perhaps, the greater journey is for both of them.

Billy said...

Jason, yes--the mindset of the woman is left to the imagination. Thanks for stopping by.

Julie said...

I'd rather sit in silence after reading that than comment - just to absorb it in silence. The memory it triggered was of the sea-faring rat in Wind in the Willows.

Billy said...

What an interesting comparison, Julie--and a lovely response. Thank you :)

travistee said...

I agree with Julie. I'm not moved to dilute the movement with my own words.
I LOVE "You always loved a man who dreamed too hard..."

Billy said...

Thank you, Travistee. Thanks for stopping by! (I'm partial to that line too :)

Scott from Oregon said...

I had a few lines of "not quite sure what to make of these" and the rest of the poem shouted in one ear and never left the other...

It is impossible to get it all right for everybody, but you got it mostly right for me.

Being of the wandering/adventuring variety, I was spoken to...

Billy said...

Scott, wanderlust vs. hearth and home in this one. I lean toward the latter as the years pass. But every now and then ...

writtenwyrdd said...

Lovely, billy. I especially love the opening 2 lines. Aren't we all like that, looking back?

Billy said...

Thank you, Written. And yes--we certainly are like that.

Sarah Hina said...

Your poems always pull me into a more beautiful frame of mind, Billy.

We have all felt this struggle, but few of us could express it so precisely, so sensitively. Few of us can hold home and stars in the cup of our hand.

Billy said...

What a lovely response, Sarah. Thanks as always :)