A white-knuckled grip on the rail,
though the ship is sinking.
The brain insists one hold tightly;
there's no mind for thinking.
A samaritan pries at your
fist, but it will not budge.
In giving up, he feels guilty --
conscience jury and judge.
You couldn't wedge just a single breath
to crack a space for thought.
A simple thing it is to let go,
but look what fear has wrought.
A quarter million tons now drags
you to the cold, dark depths.
Until the body's unthinking
gasp of watery breath.
The hand lets go, but still you sink
trapped by your last mistake.
The tragedy of a grasp reflex
that you could not break.
I’m returning home along what’s called the ‘Ship wreck coast’ of South Australia/ Victoria, so this verse is more poignant than it might otherwise be. Yet perhaps that’s the way it always should be.
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Best of luck, and thanks.