Call Me Ishmael


Not long ago I took one of my usual walks

to the waterfront .  It was not, as Ishmael says,

during a damp, drizzly November in my soul, but  in

the real chill of a drizzly Gloucester afternoon.


Despite the gloom, I found myself not alone

on the Harbor Cove boardwalk near Lat 43.

At the far end, among the traps, sat a man feeding the gulls,

looking out over the bulwarks of the nearby boats.


The scene reminded me of the rest of Ishmael’s

opening observations: there is something

that draws “almost all men in their degree  *  *  *

to cherish the same feelings towards the ocean with me.”


Those feelings compel us to choose the water’s edge

even when a snug room or restaurant  is nearby and

might  provide some comfort, say a cup of soup or tea;

but we decide to stay outside to watch and feel and wait.


We, who, unlike Ishmael, cannot “sail about a little

and see the watery parts of the world” still drift to

beach and marsh and wharves just to gaze and stare,

and let our senses absorb and our imaginations soar.


© Marty Luster 2012