What the Ship of Time Holds

9 May 2018

The present moment is
8:20 Sunday morning,
April 29th, 2018.
But I work backwards
to the year 3000 B.C.E.,
to Byblos, to watch
the Phoenicians build
Hippoi, the name the Greeks
gave to their ships
because of how each prow
was shaped into a horse’s head,
ships they rowed to trade
with the tribes of Africa, and Britain.

I work my way forward
to the year 1000 C.E.,
and the longships of the Vikings,
and how prow and stern
were shaped into heads
one can describe as horses in the abstract.

I return to the present,
the year 2018,
and the Draken, berthed
at Mystic Seaport,
a replica of a longship rowed
across the Atlantic from Norway,
and down along America’s east coast.

I have taken a mental journey
of five thousand years
in the twenty-five minutes I spent
writing this poem.
How compressed the vast
expanse of history,
as the ship of time sails beyond my grasp.

Philip Kuepper
(29 April 2018)

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