Death of a Weekend Sailor, John Grey

Gillian Sargeant, Orthodox Icon, 12″ X 9,” egg tempura and 25K gold on icon board





It’s when your boat breaks
in a wave’s clinch
that you discover you can’t swim
in such a roiling sea.

The ocean’s out to suffocate
your panicked breaths.
It doesn’t care how swell you look
in that shiny captain’s cap.

You’re a weekend sailor
and the depths don’t know from Monday.
They’re heavy. They’re turgid.
Blue maybe but they surprise you

with their blackness.
No time for prayer.
If you think of God at all,
it’s as the relentless navigator

of these vessels,
He looks you straight in the eye
and can see that you’re not sea-worthy.
He prefers the men less wealthy

but with strong arms
and tattooed muscle,
salt in their veins and arteries
and the hiss of foam in each eye.

And here you are,
sailing down into your graveyard
where dense dark bubbles
pop on the bounding main.

John Grey

Scroll to Top