Each life a voyage

Each life a voyage, sailed without a map,
Into the wild blue yonder.

                                           Ports of call
Are all we have by way of destination.
Island hops, our only means of travel,
Lean on local knowledge for successful
Landfall or else we fail to make the coast
And drift in wishful dreams of lucky chances.
Winds and waves the drivers, all our hopes 
Depend on how our skills of trim and tack
Hold up against the flow.

                                          Ashore we meet
The ones we come to love and vow to journey
On beside, for nothing stays the stream
Of time and tide. Our voyage side by side
In shared navigation carries us
To further havens: cradles for our young
Who come aboard and sail with us awhile
Until the charms of other charts take hold.

An archipelago of choices lies ahead
And intermingled courses take us on
A mystery tour where curtains hide the truth
That all of us are borne at equal speed
Into the dying light, a great armada
Floating as one ship but fighting shy
Of what this means: that there will come an hour
For each of us when sailing arts and crafts
Begin to fail. Perhaps we hit the rocks
Or sink in open water without trace
Unless another vessel bears away,
To hazy far horizons, memories
Of sailing days and island ways with us.

And what of our own recollections, isles
Of long ago whose colours glow as bright
As ever in our dreams? Unless they're told,
Such visions fade as if they've never been.
But who would want to hear of days gone by
Unless the telling strikes a chord with here
And resonates with now? To stay in tune
And keep in time, no better way than watch
And hear the young at play and - best of all! -
To join their games and find our inner child
Still knows the way!

                                 And when does childhood end?
For some of us, the adult moment comes
Along with our first child into the world.
As new-born grown-ups, all our energies
Are spent in readying our kids to face
The full-on life we somehow just fell into.

Second-time around, when grandkids come,
Our adulthood is worn more lightly. Now
We see the children that we were more clearly
Mirrored in them and shining just as bright,
Such innocence a refuge - then as now -
From worldly weariness and dulled belief.
But hope is never lost that's been deferred
And springs eternal in the risen seed.

Such innocence a refuge from the storm
Though no hiatus, not a moment saved
From time's relentless flow that carries all
Before it: people, islands, planets, stars.

Borne on by winds and waves to our conclusion,
At the last we salvage consolation.
Childhood can bring our little lives full circle.
Sailing days and island ways recycle.
From early on, our rhymes are primed with truth.
We all dip heads into the deep blue sea
So love the whistling wind and glancing spray,
The creaking timberwork and flapping sail,
The peril just beyond the safety rail,
The expertise that keeps mischance at bay.

To live with death in life, our human lot,
We seek out life in death: the power to love
The more because we know that time for us
Is running fast and we are running slow.

In age, what joy to watch the young at play
And hear their puppet parody of what 
We seem to be when who we really are
Inhabit realms more like their own than they
Could well imagine! Little do they know,
Beneath our senior surface dwells a child
Rejoicing in the sight and sound of kids
That keep the flame of life alive and well.
Our powers passed, we glory in their constant
Urge to run and leap and race and climb
And ride and dance as if we danced and rode
And climbed and raced and leapt and ran beside them.

Thus, what draws them on to unseen futures
Resurrects in us our vanished pasts.

                                                               Dave Kingsbury                        

                                         

image: Mama Lisa’s World

11 thoughts on “Each life a voyage

  1. Beautifully done, Dave. Traveling back in time to capture the joys of childhood before we were taught to believe that worry is our normal state of being. I haven’t been around young grandkids for a while, but I’ve spent the past few days around puppies/ young dogs. The same boundless energy. Thanks for sharing. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “Those were the days, my friend, we thought they’d never end, Oh how we laughed and played the whole day through…” When I first heard that song in my young 20s at Berkeley, I already felt nostalgic about it, Dave. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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