Thursday, June 5, 2014

Naomi Shihab Nye: "Missing the Boat"

It is not so much that the boat passed
and you failed to notice it.
It is more like the boat stopping
directly outside your bedroom window,
the captain blowing the signal-horn,
the band playing a rousing march.

The boat shouted, waving bright flags,
its silver hull blinding in the sunlight.

But you had this idea you were going by train.

You kept checking the time-table,
digging for tracks.

And the boat got tired of you,
so tired it pulled up the anchor
and raised the ramp.

The boat bobbed into the distance,
shrinking like a toy—
at which point you probably realized
you had always loved the sea.

"Missing the Boat" by Naomi Shihab Nye, from Different Ways to Pray: Poems. © Breitenbush Publications, 1980.

Art credit: "Cwch ar y Gorwel / Boat on Horizon," by Dylan Arnold (originally color). Note: The image has since been removed at the request of the artist.


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