Michael Howard Jacksonville (PM Draper)
I will take you home, somehow
And sail you along my genteel coast,
As rare a sight would be indeed,
Bumping, shouldering against The Stream.
I will walk your salt cured decks
Where so many knelt in prayer.
Sand and caulk your weathered planks
And clean the Asian borers
From your ancient hull.
My Dhow, who centuries past
Scoured the coast of Zanzibar,
Will now ply our Golden Isles,
Our Treasure Coast,
Where sunken galleons look up
From watery graves with envy.
What shall I carry below
In your ample holds,
Once, heavy laden with dates, fish
And slaves? You labored with grace,
Slid with silent ease past the Shat al-Arab,
Lateen sails astrain, friend and foe astride.
Together, we’ll trade your Persian Gulf for ours,
Our nor’easter for your monsoon.
And your wind will be mine, mine yours, freely blown,
Your waters, mine, and mine yours.
Salt, dry on your decks, the same
On your tongue and mine.
We will sail the same night skies,
Measure the same stars,
Lift together the same sun and moon.
And though neither of us have yet seen
The Southern Cross.
We will find it together, somehow
"My Dhow" won a Bronze in the 2021 Florida Writers Association's Royal Palm Literary Awards. It is published in my first book of poetry The Lightning and the Gale.