And how’s that for burying the lead? Jensen’s poem hasn’t lost any of its appeal since I first read it about fifteen years ago.
They are like women because they sway.
They are like men because they swagger.
They are like lions because they are king here.
They walk on the sea. The drifting
logs are good: they are taking their punishment.
But the bad boats are ready to be bad,
to overturn in water, to demolish the swagger
and the sway. They are bad boats
because they cannot wind their own rope
or guide themselves neatly close to the wharf.
In their egomania they are glad
for the burden of the storm the men are shirking
when they go for their coffee and yawn.
They are bad boats and they hate their anchors.
Laura Jensen, Bad Boats
The Ecco Press, 1977
Visit Laura Jensen’s blog:
I love this poem!
Studying her at ASU
That’s great – I’ll bet she’d love to hear that!
I posted a recording of BAD BOATS at http://backroomlive.wordpress.com/2011/01/30/its-saturday-night-we-have-poems-to-listen-to-foust-jensen-miller-hass/