Poem of Ulysses

Poem of Ulysses
(and for Dexter, safely arrived in Kinsale)

There is nothing like surrender — except in sailing home.
Then, only then, you know you are there:
But you do want to be there, not yet, not quite yet.
The sea stills holds you in its gills, its grip, the teeth
of the gale, you are still asea, awash, the following winds
in the moon’s grip, the tides and hills of waves, the wind
gripping your ears, listening for storm warnings —
but there is no storm, only the hold of the deep, thinking
fathoms, the deep sea creatures, all the drowned sailors,
gone below–the ghosts, the gold, pearls in their eyes,
songs in their teeth–and again the expectancy of wind:
the bells, all the old sea shanties — oh la la oh la la —
the mermaids singing. Am I awake or dreaming sleep?