The sun setting red on the corpse of the ship,
backlit the masts—their whirl and their whip
and the snap of the shredded, sad sails and the lip
of the wheel forsaken—the captainless crypt,
unnamed on the waters, so ghastly and still,
stirring now Northward, now Southward, at will.
Now the sun slips into the grave night,
and great is that silence that sound dare not fight.
With creaking and clinking and rattling thin
commotion on board. All quiet. And then
an anchor leaps up and over the side.
It crustily plunges and sinks with great pride,
and as it descends, it pulls the moon out—
that puppeteer master-maestro about
to orchestrate chaos, the devilish fun,
the overture set with the anchor and sun.
With silvery spirals of spiderweb spun
he picks up the players. The action’s begun.
A skeletal hand snakes over the side,
soon joined by others, some thin and some wide,
all jagged and pallid which whispering speak,
so strong at the hinges they cringingly squeak.
They raise from their sleep, that skeletal crew,
plagued by the dirges deep under the blue,
the song of the depths of the sea of the dead,
a rhythmic occurrence that echoes with dread:
the screeching of chains, the smashing of swells,
the undersea funeral knelling of bells.
The beasts of the deep, from tales and tomes,
rise up to meet with the puppeteered bones.
They circle and circle and circle the ship,
a swirling Charybdis of roaring and rip.
The moon overhead shares his eerie-faced grin.
The skeletons dance and in unison spin,
cavorting and leaping and scraping around
the mast of the ship with their unholy sound.
Then, at the apex, the zenith enraged
with all of those forces that ought to be caged,
all that is horror and terror and dark,
chaos chromatic with colorless spark,
diminished their music to timorous thrill.
The air of the ocean stood suddenly still.
The skeletons froze and collapsed into death.
The whirlpool lapsed with its leathery breath.
The pseudomellifluous tones held their rest,
an endless fermata, unsettled, unblessed.
The anchor drew up and back onto the deck.
The moon cut the strands and down sunk the wreck.