25 March 2008

Willow Bark

No-one sailed those seas
except in dreams, and dreams
agreed, these seven seas were
precious secrets which we
schemed to keep forever locked
inside our heads – no words
were ever said to friends who

didn’t know the key. We only
shared it sparingly; the sign,
as sacred as a holy shrine we
placed beside the riverbank.
The fragile piece of willow bark
should float or sink to fate or
bless a journey out to sea;

symbolically a covenant which
simply said “a safe return”. We
played the game a hundred times
and cruised to play in wilder lands.
But when the willow sank in rippled
pool we knew as only children do –
the game was truly ended.
© 1 February 2008, I. D. Carswell