HMS Empath – ‘a poem about an empath that takes the form of both ship and captain and the dangers of not managing the ‘baggage’ of others’

When the word broke that he had been sighted alongside, the comments were snide, “not just at port but in dry dock!”, the whispers cyclone’d around the clock and embedded themselves into wooden beams of ageing buildings.

It was a given, to be forgiven, that his hull would last his lifetime, how sublime and probably sobering to see him back, in pieces with holes, so big the fish swam through in shoals, as they pushed from within to get, just him, home.

With lessons learnt from a hundred wrecks, that littered the seabed, despite shipbuilding expertise and thousand cross-checks. They still seem to sink, when the pressure was exerted, and the crew they deserted then looked on from the shore as their future inverted, funnel – detached and sea became the victor.

The sea, the Federer of winning, the Hamilton of getting the upper hand, without pomp or making a stand, she will consume the unsuspected and ill prepared as she searches souls, now bared, not smooth and collected but course and impaired

What the dockworkers forgot, is it was two score years and two, since the steel plates were welded, by women and men until the thickness numbered ten. The same tenure of years that he could endure against the ice at times and maybe some concrete, as the bow smashed down walls honed into a heartbeat

A heartbeat of ones that called to be saved, and so a path he paved and course was set, in the ships log recorded never to forget, as he wants to measure his success of souls saved and treasured, when finally he is at one amongst the corals, content with his life of goodness and morals

In truth he lasted twice longer than expected, before the bridge became affected and compass – infected by the wet and the mould as he grew tired and felt old, but lighter than when first built, but sat lower in the water, lower than he oughta, which is why he came back in, when the water filled apartments and cargo left his compartments

When he woke up, dry, and sitting on chocks, engine now off, clear skies – the sea beyond the reef not rough, he could hear the workers all around, prodding at his shell and tapping, like hell, the steel which echoed a sound of a melan-choly bell to call people to one place, with a view to embrace, to reflect to learn why they don’t see his smoke stack drifting up into the sky

The truth is, what no-one saw through the calm seas and squalls, was at each port that he went to, as he answered the many calls for cargo to be taken, the burdens that would break him and the odd SOS, which teared of the plates and left a little more mess.  What no-one saw was with morse code answered, people and goods – transferred into the safety of his hold and onto his bridge, the people they tied a rolling – hitch around his arms which stopped him steering.

Feeling ropes get tighter, and his hull became misshapen, with every monkey taken, as the pay off, which was neither felt nor seen was extra weight – absorbed – and the research, not new, and written into a hundred – accords  – by experts of body and mind – was that you will lose some of your strength, and water-tight integrity, your flexible frame and fun-filled dexterity.

if you don’t dock into refit, you will too be unfit to not only – sit but also propel the bow into the swell.  You must grind down rusty nails, bolt down an engine, replace the sails then weld, then smooth, then paint so the rust stays away and never to taint.

That added steel armour, plate-by-plate, they just fell away, quietly into the sea, and was this foreseen?  Well not by those who jumped on with glee and was happy to see him taking their load and to share their burden, and with their uncertainty, his fate – was certain.

 A hard task, for an empath to walk on another’s path, behind them, in the imprints of their feet, so close that he can smell the aroma – so sweet of another soul to help, which will be that person’s story, their fable of this rescuer that enabled – the journey to be finished, what remained out of sight is the empath’s energy, vapoured – diminished.

One day the Admiralty, having coffee and rum, stared out of leaded Tudor glass and saw no gleaming dockyard, sun bouncing off brass, but a ship’s graveyard slum, with vessels in pieces, abandoned, holes and cracked and rusted. Motionless Captain’s collapsed on decks, judged and mistrusted by those in gold thread misreading silence and life, to failure of the dead, who peered from on high, as those who steer vessels are not trained to break, withdraw and cry.  The few crew, still in their nests, scan their feet not new land, and never did they imagine their concrete Captain break apart like dark wet sand.

The word it then reached the ports and towns in the far off lands of trade, with silk and spice now building up, demand slipping below what’s made – they called for a global amnesty of kind, where the speed and demands were stripped right back so balance could caress the mind, of those who had spent many a year propping up all others, and some ships I have to note are steered by sisters, but mostly by our oh so quiet brothers. 

These seafaring sisters of these vessels what they do so very differently is meet, and talk, to all of the crew, and keep quite close to their heart’s and head’s a chosen special few, who take these monkeys off to cages down below, managing other – cargo – so she’s left with charts, and compass, directing where next to go.

If you’re a captain or such a ship please note, and I shoot from the hip, be sure to keep an eye on your hull, which doesn’t need to be shiny and new, post refit it will dull, but be sure as you take – on cargo and people, their ways, their stories and all of their issues, be strong, listen and get help with their baggage, be there  for them with hugs and some tissues, and not pour out your energy into a tankard with a lid and ice, for them to consume when you’re not around, as the cost you will pay will be too high a price.

Compartmentalise the heavy, and discard the key, where wind is concerned know the side which is lee, as passengers can be so typically judgemental, so sails could be needed if your engine’s temperamental. But some cargo will be helpful and will enhance your journey, others, with abandoned owners you’re your prosecuting attorneys.

Be aware and be kind as most ships on the seas are christened ‘Empath’, by Captains that listen and take into their hold from memories to gold, and trust the intentions of these many interventions, some who seek free space sadly will have nefarious motivations.

PedroBatPoet 2022

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