Ship of Fools

Ship of Fools

No one bites the dust,
no one cuts the cloth,
they’re just things people say,
like a flame draws a moth.

Try to start a tale,
to find a way in,
even with the sound off,
the world still makes a din.

Night is an ocean,
dark, calm, I begin,
an eager voyager,
but I still fear a fin.

May not be a shark,
that line sharp and thin,
could be the peace police,
a patrolling dolphin.

It was Plato in The Republic
who first wrote of the ship of fools,
asked what if the captain cannot navigate,
and his crew squabbled over who should take the helm,
how could they survive a voyage on the ocean realm?

I contemplated in a monastery,
but could not obey the rules,
now I am far from any harbours
on board the ship of fools.

Dick Turpin was a highwayman,
his horse was called Black Bess,
today that sounds romantic,
but I could not want to be him less.

Robinson Crusoe was a castaway,
wanted to escape but did not have the tools,
his wit was almost gone when he was rescued
on board the ship of fools.

No one tries to jump overboard,
no one wants to drown.
They wait for land on the horizon,
the lights of a seashore town.

Some fools are very serious,
others like to jest.
Ask them why they’re here,
they’ll say they’re just a guest.

An old blue clothed buccaneer
reads a newspaper by the mast,
asks those with nearby ears: Is this real?
If so, he hopes it will not last.

They say the captain is worse than Captain Ahab
who searched for Moby Dick.
He’s some kind of failed magician,
you can see through his every trick.

I would train to be a master mariner,
if I could find the book of rules.
I do not intend to end my voyage
on board the ship of fools.


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