the problem of every vexed chronicler:
event erased by the fickler
tides of caprice. And so must base
this traveller’s tale on no more
than the scattered flotsam of a wreck,
the spars and bobbing bits of deck
that once briefly bore
our cargo. So here a book, bought
for someone else, now bearing
Eliot paraphrased in a caring
line of love; there, a medal fraught
with shared memories of ancient wars,
perfect gift for marchers of the mind –
on such are built the blind
buttresses of faith, a fool’s recourse.
But there is, beyond this sad detritus
of a voyage, against a baleful dawn,
your face whose image is all but gone.
And a magic moment or two that knit us.