Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Week 43: Captain's Log: Soundings in Fathoms and Feet

   This week's book, the second part of the Captain's Log series is titled Soundings in Fathoms and Feet. This poem is handwritten on a depth soundings map... as was the previous Captain's Log entry. In this case, the map is a digital copy of a vintage December 18, 1976 map of the ocean around the Bahamas Islands in the Caribbean Sea. The original map, measuring 30 inches by 56 inches, has been reduced to 14 x 17 inches. The book can be stored rolled up as a scroll or tacked to a wall, just as a utilitarian map might be posted.


handprinted poem on the map

the map title and date

close up of the Berry Islands to the Andros

Soundings in Fathoms and Feet

Past the Berry Islands
to the Andros,
the soundings in fathoms and feet
map the Tongue of the Ocean…
Who knew 
one day this would be
some Shangri-La
some Eden for the rich and famous 
to cavort and commune.

A wilderness isolated 
by wind and water with 
blue holes of mystery and mythic monsters.
Once there were towns 
built on dreams of glory and gold
but they crumbled in antiquity
because the soil wasn’t fit
for anything but salt.
From the sea or from tears,
it’s all the same.

In those days, there stood outposts
built for warriors, smugglers, and pirates
until the wars were over, the goods were freed, 
and the pirates rehabilitated, or not.
Now, new castles have been built 
amid the palm trees and sandy beaches.
They shimmer and gleam in the Caribbean sun
Their beaches and tiki bars
are filled with the sun worshipers of modernity.
Seeking respite
from the stress and boredom of their lives,
they lie on the golden beaches
sipping rum-spiked fruit juices 
with colorful umbrellas perched in the glasses
matching the patterns of their island clothes, 
their pink cheeks and bellies, their bold daydreams. 

Elixir of pleasure bubbles up from the blue holes,
shimmers in the cays and channels,
and floats on the Tongue of the Ocean
as the Bahama Islands, a small string of gems
shines from the belt of the Earth.

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