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Ghost Ship


By Don Kenton Henry


A man has to have worked very hard at being this alone

I am asked if this was always my plan

I reply, you mean to inhabit a one person home

To be an island unto myself , a solitary man

It took years to lose the people, friends, pets, lovers and dreams my neglect has cost

Life’s not a ship that goes down with all hands lost

Rather, one by one they disappeared over the side

And were singularly swept away with the tide


I stand tied to the broken mast of a ghost ship adrift

In the dire straits of the Sea of Regret

Lift me up mother wind, lift me up in your arms, carry me home

But no wind, no breeze and no moon appear to see me there

Just the gray fog of missed chances for which to atone

Children at home and lingering romances that weren’t

So many smiles squandered through the miles, precious moments spent alone


I remember what I beg to forget

And forget the feel of things I love to remember

Kisses in June, Dances in December

Memories of the worthy, so easily I dismissed, swirl in the wake of my ghost ship adrift

Oh, how they tried to climb aboard when southern winds filled my sails

But I had new shores to discover and they were lost in the wake of my young sleek seaworthy clipper

And now, far behind they swirl in the eddies and backwater of time

In the wake of my ghost ship adrift

There you will find them . . .

Lovers with arms outstretched, grandpas and grandmas standing in doors

Mom’s house for the holidays

So many knew those were last good-byes . . . so many but I

The scents of ginger bread, warm candles, burning leaves and puppy breath

Perfume on a neck

The sight of more newborn children to replace the vision of old ones in bed for the last time

Then lost to time


Ah, to have sailed so far alone, now a fool tied to the mast, albatross of misspent youth about my neck, no shore in sight

A life adrift in the night

When did I lose my compass

One more storm and take me to the deep

Postscript: “I never let myself stay down too long. Under every rock of a bad day, there is an optimist waiting to get out.” Let this meme serve as a reminder:



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