19 Aug 2014
Alone on an island
Isolation stabbing at my tattered heart
Piercing through wrinkled grooves
That the invisible hand of a familiar face
Dark sails on the horizon, of sailboats
That plow through the water to my island
Crewed by smiling men and women
Beautiful under their charcoal sails.
From near and far they drift
Always past my paltry island
With lips that change faster
Than the horrible beating of my heart
Pounding, pumping, propelling
Those black sails onward and away
Their anchors never to reach granular flesh.
Sharp ridges of a palm tree caress my back
Bereft of any arching leaves
It reaches up to the sun, moon and stars
Desperate as my eyes on the sandy bottom,
That leaden sunlight dangling from the clouds
Is swallowed up by intrepid storms
Dooming me and my palm tree
To ineluctable loneliness
On our island.
18 Aug 2014
A solitary painter
Of talent unequaled
Drizzles away his blues and greens
His canvas always shaken, yet
His brush never swayed.
Powerful hands with sinews like rope
Unravel his ever changing creation
To reveal veins of silver, of teal
And virgin white.
How clever he is, slashing bold streaks
That pitch shock waves shivering down the spine
Shackling the imagination to an anchor
Plummeting down toward images of gods and creatures and men.
The wind sends shimmering blue droplets fleeing
Running towards the canvas they inhabit
Running on water, like the painter
Whose only friend is the wind.
• The Bow
Sunsets on the ocean, so long as the horizon isn’t beset with the typical, looming, ominous storm clouds, never ceases to disappoint. Though come to think of it the act of that celestial ball sinking below the edge of the earth never does. Moreover I’ve found the bow of the boat to be the most picture-esq place I may have ever encountered. Hike a mountain and the view will leave you breathless, the sunset undoubtedly even more so. The bow of the boat however is no top of a mountain. It supersedes such places as it is not a stationary vista, but a moving visual masterpiece, roaming about the ocean to provide endless ever changing beauty, accompanied with this change of scenery. The incandescent motion does something to the mind, mesmerizing the beholder as the waves surge up to greet you, then back down again to be swallowed by the ocean. The endless cycle gives each new view a gentle rolling ease and regardless of the circumstances of my visit to the bow I find my awe and wonder renewed. As I sit here regarding this progression, and the sun splits in half far off to the port side, I can’t help but feel endowed with both luck and purpose. How lucky I am to be able to sit here and take in natures’ magnificent beauty. Purpose too fills my eyes, large as dinner plates as I breathe in cold crisp breaths of hope; to what end I do not know.
17 Aug 2014
Ripples on a listless desert
A desert of Eden
Rivulets, runnels, streams and tunnels
Embroider that desolate jewel
Thorns of cold dark sorrow scratch the west
Hot billowing fire encrusts the east
Peering toward the heat and flame
I too am set ablaze
And the ripples ebb upon that desert
And I throw myself down to it, breathless drowning
Thoughtfulness when at sea seems as inescapable as it is inevitable. I ponder at length the line of men dating back centuries, who, though we share no blood, I feel deeply connected to by my pontifications at sea. What ruminations might have rambled through those 18th century minds as they shivered in the icy hold below deck, attempting sleep under conditions so much more ghastly than those I currently find myself in. The nature of man reinstates however that the prattle of insignificant feelings, misunderstanding, awe, optimism, hope, ambivalence and unguided raw emotion that bangs about my hollow skull is that same prattle heard in the minds of those weary travelers of the past. So much of life seems a search for understanding of both one’s self as well as the beautiful universe we inhabit. But if life is understanding how can we hope to ever truly be at peace? All I have to do is raise my eyes, seeing what so many have seen before, sharing with them that same beautiful vista, the bliss and the coursing veins of fear at the sight of such awesome power. Understand the infiniteness of the ocean? Impossible. Try anyway? Well what’s there to lose.
16 Aug 2014
Complexity elucidates the endless plane
Flittering abreast across its mane
Feathers on the wind echo rustling leaves
Eaves of propulsion unfaltering in the breeze
Tranquility conceals the circles
Those ambling endlessly amidst mothers tears
Taciturn atop her billowing canopy
Underneath feathers, like leaves, bloom
And yet knowledge is that effervescent flight
Above froth and tumultuous foam
And we watch, and want
Surrounded and engulfed, I lift my head to take a breath of salty but fresh air, then back down to my pen and paper, shrouded by flies. These have to be the most persistent, despicable and widespread species on the planet (minus the mosquito and all arachnids), however the ocean, with her beautiful blue waves that placate our ship and stretch for endless miles, seems to breed a new type of demonic super-fly. This fly is NOT your average household fly, which peruses the kitchen, ambles over to the fruit bowl and quietly wanders for tedious hours, only to find the harsh whip of a watchful eye and a quick fly swatter. No these flies inhabit the ocean and have proved they’re saltier than any seasoned seaman. Tougher than nails they hastily approach, jumping into attack formation. Rally point alpha is the legs and from there the squadron advances toward their primary target… I’ve no clue what this target is but whatever their mission they do a fantastic job annoying me to kingdom come. Bombing raids to the face are a particular favorite of these assailants, with the consistency of car pistons at break neck speed. Attempting to deter the attackers is an effort in futility, as a swat or a shake only entices further annoyance and only seems to encourage this miniature superman on steroids. Of the unpleasantries I’ve encountered thus far, which few there are, these menaces of the personal bubble have been the worst, as well as most unexpected. If this tells you anything about the rest of my time spent aboard the Thompson, it should be that of all the things in the world that could pose a threat to one’s livelihood annoying flies is quite a nonchalant problem. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to attempt to finally hit one of these six or seven buggers that will not stop antagonizing my legs!
15 Aug 2014
That drum of his
Above how it pounds
To port how it careens
To starboard how it screams
That drum of his
Below how it booms
And in the deepest of tombs
How he waits
Poised to beat the interminable thunder
That drum of hers
Breathing slows, deep relaxation seeps into your muscles and bones, like marmalade into warm bread, calm blows over your restless soul stilling your mind, heavy eyes slip beneath the waves and fade to black. Sleep comes in this way quite often for me, sometimes taking minutes, rarely hours, at times seconds, however on board the Thompson sleep is quite a different animal all together. Sleeping schedules and hours are the most irregular I have ever seen amongst a single collective. The student body, which this leg numbers just six, takes 4 hour shifts on watch in the ROPOS control room whenever the massive machine submerges beneath the waves. I have been honored with the privilege of manning my station from the hours of 0400 to 0800 whenever this occurrence takes place. Quick reminder; productivity on the ship due to the nature of the voyage, the workforce on board, the time sensitive project underway and the rapid speed of operations make this time of the 24 hour cycle that our society calls a day ALWAYS BUSY. It is an interesting thing I have not experienced until this trip to wake up at 3:40am, shower in cold water in a feeble attempt to start the cogs turning in my head, grab a cup of coffee and retire to the control room only to find a multitude of scientists, engineers, ROV pilots, and assorted crew already (or still) awake working hard and never hardly working. The sleeping hours of the staff on board are so bizarre it’s as though the whole ship has narcolepsy! One minute I’m playing a game with a fellow student, the next I can’t keep my eyes on my floundering king as I realize that I had only 4 hours of sleep last night, and 5 the night before that. The ship is a true 24/7 vessel, no doubt about that. There’s not a time day or night where you can’t find a scientist pouring over data, a ROPOS pilot strapped to his chair in the control room, eyes glued to the monitors, or an engineer hard at work fixing something that, though I haven’t a clue what it is, is more than likely integral to the integrity of the entire ship. There is always something to do and time is of the essence, always working against you. That is whjy I'm going to sleep. Good night.
14 Aug 2014
Push Pull Push Pull
The tides of knowledge push us
The strength of man’s machines pushes us
Endeavors past have culminated in us
And us becomes we
Humanity now set to roam free
To romp, to revel, to submerge
The bubbles rise with men and machines
Now clasped together
Rolling across the waves
Rolling towards discovery
Staggeringly beautiful in a very nerdy, techy kind of way, this machine is I believe the most advanced, expensive, convoluted, well operated and interesting piece of machinery I have ever had the privilege to work in conjunction with. ROPOS itself is astounding. It amazes me the technology man now has available to him, plus the multitude of applications for this machinery are endless. Not to mention the ROPOS team! What a dedicated group of individuals, always professional and so skilled at handling this robot even miles below the surface of the sea. I am continually astounded by this project, the people I am surrounded by, but even more so with this testament to human intelligence, this monolith of scientific and technological advancement, as well as its patient, gentle and ever present caretakers. Also I’ve been up since 4am in the ROPOS control room and am beginning to feel the depravity that follows excessive lack of sleep! Leaning over the deep end or becoming more impassioned by her majesty’s big beautiful blue I cannot tell, though either I will embrace with open arms and dark blue under my eyes.