Ship Of Fools

Ship Of Fools.

Discover: from the Latin dis- and cooperire,” to remove the cover.”
In the years following the Renaissance it had evolved to mean, “bringing to light.”

The ocean is glass,
the ocean is cloth
and God is the wind on the water.

Pinta, Nina, Santa Maria.
The three ships of Cristóbal Colón, Columbus.
Five weeks with only
their bare prayers to the Blessed Virgin
and all the promises of commerce
as they sliced through uncharted waters.
The great expanse taunted them for five weeks.
Me capo en Dios y los 365 santos del año!

The ocean is glass,
the ocean is cloth
and God is the wind on the water.

From the first days the omens were bad
a meteorite was seen falling,
the ships were sieged by fields of Sargasso weeds.
There was talk of the journey being suicide,
of turning back before they had gone too far.
Plans were afoot to cut the throat of Columbus
and tip him overboard, say he’d slipped
while taking the position of the North star with his sextant
when they spotted a sign –
shore birds squawking overhead.
And you get to wonder what they were doing
-the natives-
in those five weeks
oblivious to what was coming.

The ocean is glass,
the ocean is cloth
and God is the wind on the water.

Columbus believed South America
to be an island
located not far from the River Ganges.
Later he revised his maps
and cursed his foolishness,
concluding that the Orinoco
was instead a distributary of the river Gihon
which would lead directly
to the battlements of the Garden of Eden.
Years later Jean Nicolet ventured forth in a canoe
for the other side of the Great Lakes
wearing the finest damasks robes
flowing multicoloured silk
strewn with embroidered flowers and birds
expecting to greet Oriental Mandarins
and the Chinese Emperor
whom he predicted to be on the other side.

The ocean is glass,
the ocean is cloth
and God is the wind on the water.

Topographers arrive by sea,
to chart the edges of the lands
but the interior remains white,
an irresistible white vastness on the first maps.
The white of Christ del Rey
Christ the King,
the blinding white
of the road to Damascus.
that same magnesium glare,
that same staring into the sun.
The things you could find in that white space,
and lord the things you could conceal.

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