The Albatross

(‘God save thee, ancient Mariner!
—With my cross-bow! I shot the ALBATROSS.)

using energy stored in the wind
dynamic soaring the albatross can
fly for hours without flapping its wings
for only a few second at
a time can sleep while flying a 
large friendly bird even playful in disposition
with abundant curiosity as to human
presence and activities within the realm
of open ocean over which it precedes it is
seen as bad luck to injure or kill the bird
as in Coleridge’s epic the mariner must 
atone through suffering for taking its life
condemned to wander the world telling
his story of woe how he without any reason skewered 
the natural world of its innocence a symbol 
of Christ the bird the Mariner as
the betraying Judas the dead bird
is significant even then men knew that
nature was something to be revered just
as God was revered that like God nature
was beyond both mastery and comprehension 
by killing the bird there were consequences
all 200 crew dropped dead the sailor
lived on in agony and guilt imagine
then a black footed Albatross on seven foot
wingspan flying 3000 miles from
the Midway Atoll to the food rich shelf
25 miles off the coast of California 
as dawn breaks you pick up a neon 
flying squid with the intent of much needed
food for waiting chicks you descend on 
the mariner in innocence and sanctity only 
to find sin and repentance on a 
100 mile grade A nylon fishing line set
on a thousand steel baited tuna hooks


James McLaughlin





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