m a r g i n a l i a

notes from a creative writing PhD candidate

frank o’hara, “to the harbormaster” (1957)

To the Harbormaster

By Frank O’Hara

O'Hara

I wanted to be sure to reach you;

though my ship was on the way it got caught

in some moorings. I am always tying up

and then deciding to depart. In storms and

at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide

around my fathomless arms, I am unable

to understand the forms of my vanity

or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder

in my hand and the sun sinking. To

you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage

of my will. The terrible channels where

the wind drives me against the brown lips

of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet

I trust the sanity of my vessel; and

if it sinks, it may well be in answer

to the reasoning of the eternal voices,

the waves which have kept me from reaching you.

 

from the collection Meditations in an Emergency

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