A Message Found in a Bottle at Sea

Sudden and deathly and full
Of madness that oozes from crevasses
I cannot find we walk

On cliffs and throw rocks
Down to tunnels that flow
Off to seas we can no longer

Find on maps we store in
The dank and dirty attics that whisper
To us on cold nights when

Rain falling is the only
Sound we care to hear – how
Did we get here? The

Captain has fallen off the ship and
We see him waving in the waves while
The storms build and there is just a

Long, lone white bird cawing in the
Wind and I lean to listen but discover
Only a howl and a crash and

The fingers sinking beneath waves that
We can no longer penetrate with cries in
This pitiful night… where

Is the light
House we once knew?

13 thoughts on “A Message Found in a Bottle at Sea

  1. Brendan May 20, 2017 / 8:56 pm

    Keen and chilling and terribly prescient … some day aliens may read our ruins that way. The poem’s compression is fit for a bottle and expands out terrifyingly all the way to “light/House.” There’s no hope for the ship of fools, though the news from the bottle shows the ghost of a truthful beacon. Wonderfully done Matthew, thanks for joining in with this salt-lashed contribution to the challenge.

    Like

  2. angieinspired May 20, 2017 / 9:37 pm

    Line breaks are like literal breakers here in the ocean 🌊

    Like

  3. paul scribbles May 20, 2017 / 9:57 pm

    That question. How did we get here? may offer up the answer to how do we get out. Lighthouse or no.

    Like

  4. Jericho May 20, 2017 / 10:39 pm

    I love the opening and these sections:

    “Sudden and deathly and full
    Of madness that oozes”

    “maps we store in
    The dank and dirty attics that whisper”

    “I lean to listen but discover
    Only a howl and a crash”

    “where
    Is the light
    House we once knew?”

    Your line breaks are excellent.

    Like

  5. hypercryptical May 20, 2017 / 11:44 pm

    It has disappeared into the sea of apathy, where we swim backwards…
    Anna :o]

    Like

  6. Sherry Blue sky May 21, 2017 / 2:14 pm

    I love this poem so much, especially that lone white bird. Beautifully done.

    Like

  7. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) May 21, 2017 / 3:20 pm

    To find a message in a bottle is really so very interesting… I have done it once or twice but usually it’s less the message than the moment when we find it that is a news.

    Like

  8. sarahsouthwest May 21, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    The breaks make this feel vertiginous. It’s really evocative.

    Like

  9. purplepeninportland May 22, 2017 / 3:05 am

    Love the white bird, and the feeling of tumbling I get from this. Your line breaks are perfect.
    Excellent poem.

    Like

  10. Jim May 22, 2017 / 3:07 pm

    I liked this, Matthew. I didn’t know we would end lamenting the demise of the lighthouse. Most Captains I ran into were fairly knowledgeable, on up the officer corp had plateaued into incompetencey. We have way too many generals running our country, acting like they think Cheny would have been if he could have grown up and matured.
    Fall off the ship? A lot will, one already has.
    ..

    Like

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