Plight of Sailors

We set our sails
As we leave these docks.
Ashore we set,
Aboard the beagle.
New worlds we shall roam,
Fortune we shall bring.
We sing in the wind
With the waves ululating.
Knots we multiply,
This sea drives us.
Rare species we are,
Nearly married to the fishes.
What will they make of us?
Our wives are nearly widows.
Hurray! We sing.
One day we shall return.
Docks full to the brim,
With gifts for children
Not known to us.

Synoptic moments

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Reading one of my poems, I realised I’ve never felt this way about a character in any of my poetry pieces. I felt deeply touched by Jimmy’s wife as she narrated her plight in the Jimmy series of poems: “Migrant’s Journal”; When Jimmy comes again in particular.

The Jimmy series of poems was inspired by a friend when we were working on the anthology The Great Rush last year. I would write a piece and he would read it, so in this case it just went on and on and he would say look there is a story here. So I would let it unwind whatever way, then I felt a character coming through, Jimmy; the worker in a failing economy contemplating the greenback in greener realms. So I let him like a Muse forge a way in my mind, as I, like a painter yielded to his form on the canvas of memory, later creating a threefold of poems, the first and last one being through Jimmy’s POV, the middle one being through Jimmy’s wife POV, and it is she, that deeply touched me like I’d never read the piece before.

So last night I passed it around my nieces and didn’t bother them about feedback. Then as we waited for dinner one of them asked, “Does Jimmy have a Surname?”

“Batoni, Jimmy Batoni,” I told her.

“So he is another JB,” she referenced the Western heroes of cinema, James Bond, Jason Bourne and Jack Bauer.

I considered the facts then offered, “Jimmy is a hero you know, at least for his wife and kids.”

Then a discussion on a whole lot of issues came through, from the plight of refugees in places they seek asylum, difficulties faced in accessing their health needs, the rejection and hostility they face in their host cultures, issues on social inclusion (exclusion) and social cohesion, and the difficulties faced by the families left behind. And when there was nothing more to talk about, sat before the dinner table, I moseyed Jimmy’s world, considering the physics of his situation and others in the same plight and found myself giving it up to those who wander, those who strive, and those who risk it all for the security of their families and among us, Jimmy came to represent everyone in that situation like Jonny did to all who went to war.

“Here is to Jimmy!”