Against the grain. I

A rotten butt, he called us. The vehicle of salvation for he and his progeny, and we were rotten to him. Warped we may have been, and old,  but never rotten. For we work together, my knotted kin and I.  Regardless of any stress or strain.  We boat parts are old retainers. Whatever the weather. Once engaged for our final service, for many long hours we were rent and cracked, to bring father and daughter safely ashore through wind and waves. Despite being thrice holed by cruel hammers before the usurper set us adrift. Though destined to fail we endured.  Regardless of being slammed North, South, East and West; clockwise and widdershins. All parts working together, regardless of girth or length. We do not discriminate against size. Each does his bit, at the appropriate time. We were born to bend and sway, building  muscle in the wind. 

People always think the keel of a boat bares the brunt of tempests, but the gunwales are the front line. I am a gunwale. Filling the breach. Holding the shield wall, when everything beneath the water is carnage. I also have oarlocks to contend with. Gunwales are pierced, for the ease of human hands. Strained and stretched all ways, and never complaining. No. For despite our troubles, we are the chosen ones.  Sailors lay their hands on us for support on both entry and exit. We welcome their touch. We prosper beneath it. Prosper. Prosper O. Oh, fuck him royally. He forgets, but we formed his shelter that first night, when he could naught but sob for what was lost. He upturned us, to form a cave on the beach. How he whined. Even with the most wonderful of futures swaddled within his arms. Miranda. Miracle of the isle. Perhaps it was for her that I endured.

You see, tide and wind are much the same to wood.  We ebb and flow within them, and are unpredictable and bold in our intensity. I always felt I had a purpose, even before becoming Prospero’s staff. Left to their own devices and devoid of occupation, the rest of my  timber crew ventured out to sea at the mercy of the tides. The boat was broken.  The company was disbanded. A band of brothers unbound. Not was I for the currents. I knew Prospero would need a crutch. A prop. A stick to shake at the world. So I devised to be washed up on the low tide. As he contemplated his fate, glaring at the coral wreaths that surrounded him. Me, with my curved, iron oarlock perfectly placed to cradle his thumb. Behold what the tide ‘washed in’. His talisman. Rod of his rule. Prosperous sceptre. I was only ever Miranda’s protector.

At our very  first (orchestrated) meeting he greeted me with ‘Come, my crooked friend. We shall do great things’. What an arrogant prick. Delusions of grandeur. Many a time I saw his crooked friend (his diminutive cock) as  time passed, and clothes frayed, and said naught. Even when he commanded poor Ariel to assume voluptuous forms that ‘pleased’ him.  By’r lord, how that spirit worked for his freedom. I hope Ariel is still at liberty now. He always eyed me with the eternal suspicion of the persecuted ( me being formed of Oak and all). Still, we regarded each other with the sacred respect of the subjugated. For that is the reigning feature of Prospero’s rule. He has to lord it over someone. Anyone will do.

© Tom Tide 2016


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