Title: Appointed Limits

Author: Stephanie de Montalk

In: Sport 32: Summer 2004

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, December 2004

Part of: Sport

Keywords: Verse Literature

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Sport 32: Summer 2004

Appointed Limits

Appointed Limits

Uncle Donald, becalmed
in the Lesser Antilles

will tell his nephews
a story in which nothing

much happens beyond
discussion of a trip

from New Orleans to St Louis
by steam boat which once took

three weeks and was recently
accomplished in three days,

and the possibility of the ship
as floating home with

page 170

balustrades and ornamentation
befitting a palace.

One day there were clouds
like birds on the horizon,

the next a shoe, a couple of shoes
then a cobbler and so on

which, together with
volcanic rocks to port,

and starboard, and port again,
and the occasional expedition

to shore to buy tobacco from farmers
and booty from smugglers,

should help pass the hour
pleasantly enough.

He'll forgo the storm
when he clung to the mast

with the legs of a horse,
swallowing water,

and the moment of near sinking
when the bosun promised

omelets for breakfast,
and the captain,

straddling the bridge,
held his telescope like a rifle.