Lost Sailors All

Lines in the sand,
from cutlasses drawn by seasoned hands,
now lifeless sunsalt fingers at dawn. Gold,
bitten by yeast-weakened jaws once pearls, 
the sails unfurled in sunsets red
as blood too in the hold of wind.

And with the wind,
that platter hope of peace they thought would come,
now strains its sinews in approaching days. 

Fine fools and fellows till the drink ran out,
shaking dice in hour glasses, stretching 
arms in tight-packed glances, lopping 
tall poppy abandon, painting the snapping canvas
crimson, over a creaking deck.

When night comes, with the fall of men,
some sit battered by the bow,
stern eyes fixed to the gallows, the tallow
path of a wave-rocked lantern
hanging a rattling voice of chains,
clanking a hymn to the sea.

And then one day, with seaspray breath,
one thought among them anchors in the breeze,
am unpicked seachest on a burning ship:
'Whose grasp is it that spins the wheel,
who drives the wind?'