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Théodore Géricault, The Raft of the Medusa (1818–1819)

Ocean that soaks me to the bone

Uphold me, for I cannot sleep

And a perplexèd thing thus peep

In early morning at my phone.

Gazing hopeful, remote the bight,

Raft this shipwrecked barracoon,*

I fool myself that one day—soon

Some happy view might heave in sight.

Protectress Gorgo, turn to stone

The blind who ravage Earth in play —

Reboot your venging stare today,

Redeem the road the moguls roam!

She is not here. But far away

The noise of wreck begins again,

And awful through the icy rain

On dying ocean breaks the day.**

*Barracoon = a slave pen or enclosure,; see [Sir] V. S. Naipaul, The Overcrowded Barracoon, reviewed by Peter Dreyer in The San Francisco Sunday Examiner and Chronicle, April 22, 1973.

**A respectful nod to Lord Tennyson's great poem In Memoriam for this shameless purloining of phrasing and metre. "If you must steal, steal from the best, who can well afford it."


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