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The Unguided Ship

by Piyush Pandey

The ship bound for glorious lands
Was full of ignorance.
And when the shipmaster died,
He left behind him a helpless, floating world
Where nobody knew which way to go.

It was a terrifying world,
And the men chose not to think about it.
They threw the dead body into the sea,
And began to eat and drink,
And sing and dance again.
And when they got bored with it all,
They tinkered around with the wheel.
But the sea has no milestones;
It’s unkind to those
Who do not know the way.

I have lived in the doomed ship
For ten thousand years,
And like the eternal debts of the careless spender,
The frightful nightmares have never left me alone.
And sometimes
I dream of land and flowers and downy peaches.
I would choose my nightmares if I had a choice.
For the sweet dreams are the dreams of hope,
And in an unguided ship,
Hope is a dangerous thing.
I thought it would leave me alone
When I threw my potted plant into the sea.

The lady who had a goldfish in a bowl
Went mad,
And I threw my cactus into the sea.

Now, as I watch a young sailor
With his telescope turned to the sky,
To see all the named stars and tell the way,
I want to say to him,
“Let stars be stars tonight.
Let them twinkle and suffer in the dark.
And let me ask you a question instead,
Am I in your dream or are you in mine?”

Copyright © 2013 by Piyush Pandey

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