The Sailor Ghazal

In life we must make many choices – in or out, heads or tails
Watching the coin of fate as it tumbles, we shout heads or tails

Even days when the anchor is weighed and ready are the sails
Wishing will not bring the wind nor hope end the drought, heads or tails

In a mess you'll need the best who'll always fight with tooth and nails
Cast out the weak and trust in those whose heart is stout, heads or tails

To be your friend through thick or thin, a good dog, he never fails
But do not judge or bear grudge where he sticks his snout, heads or tails

When you take your leave of the sea to land among some fine ales
No man's immune to be subsumed, the drunken lout, heads or tails

If you hunger for other things – garters, fishnets, dainty veils –
Beware; there's more than pleasure that those ladies tout, heads or tails

We all set out to pursue our own individual grails
Few succeed; most give up or give in to their doubt, heads or tails

When one finds islands unknown or risks taking another's trails
As fools, we rush in, but only after our scout, heads or tails

As men, we are guests – the water belongs to those who have scales
Misbehave, and we'll pay for the poisons we spout, heads or tails

TMK 26apr2010