Noel Cobb

The Worn Book

Ghostly dawn mists hang over grey fjord waters.
Our welcome on shore is terse and unsmiling.
We have come from the dark hold and will return there.

If our fingers are numb and icy, even a cup
Of hot coffee is a shout from Heaven.
How glad I was to carry scrap iron from the hold.

Blindly living a walking death, depressed, impulsive,
Careless, indifferent to custom, taking from the Earth
Without paying back, is that what youth is?

The worn book in the young docker's pocket is all he has
Of hope. Words of a poet, dead half a century.
Cries of pain from a man who has lost his love.

Who has told us to stop at the mirror's surface?
Who has taken hold of our arm, pulling us back?
And why do we ignore the hand outstretched?

Who will we see on the other side, but ourselves,
Wondrously looking into each other's brimming eyes?
Ghostly dawn mists hang over the grey fjord waters.