The ship had angled like a broken limb.
A man was weeping with uncovered face.
We worked in silence, hushed each snapping chainsheet,
coiled the tangled lines and piled the jetsam.
What canvas had survived we gasketed.
Our keel was grinding gently on the sea-floor.
Along the beach and cliff the gapers stood
like vegetation cowed by hostile weather.
I wanted sunlight falling through a coaming
on boys who paused and, squinting upward, grinned.
I wanted pictures, men who hauled a foretack,
propulsion bulbing over and around them.
Now water slushed like sump oil in the holds:
now water slid like granite all around us.
And someone wept with pain as wild as joy
that works of care should vanish in an instant.
He was the first to wade toward the beach:
his shirt ballooned, his hair was shredding rope.
We followed one by one, each with our dunnage,
then quietly dispersed among that crowd.