“Adrift, Upon the Lee”
My soul’s adrift; her spirit lost to wind.
I’m tossed and vainly seek a safer lee.
I pull the anchor chain and with it send
my heart a-flutter, full-blown, out to sea.
My boat has ample weight yet she is trim.
She dreams of color and a high romance
with sun and wind and frothy water’s brim
across a deck that cherishes the dance.
But I am ghostly silent. Lethargy
and fear within my muggy heart resides.
No compass; no direction do I see.
My stern into a darker water glides.
Oh, save us from that whore; my soul set free,
or else this landlubber; this poet, bleed.
Research for the word, “lee”:
The “lee” of a boat is the side the wind touches last as it crosses the boat; it is left or port side of the boat. This wind, because it blows from east to west, is called an “easterly” wind. This is because the source of a wind is more knowable than its destination, so winds are named for their source.
This is confusing for landsmen, as the “leeward side” of the boat, and the “lee shore” of the land face opposite directions. “Lee” means “shelter”, but appears to have shifted, in the sole case of shorelines, to describe the shore exposed to the wind. This would make perfect sense to the sailor, standing on the leeward side of his ship, watching it being pushed towards an exposed shoreline by the wind.