How have I landed and what is this strand?
Was it folly or crime? I don’t understand.
There’s flotsam around, the crew has all vanished
and all that is clear is that I am banished.

I’ll go find the wreck, see what’s to salvage
Find what is left with which I can manage
pick up the pieces of what has been ravaged
sort out the remains, look over the damage.

Chuck what is ruined, see what’s to mend
and how slender the means upon which I’ll depend
what tools and what guile, what loose odds and ends
are at my disposal to scuffle and fend.

Bad luck or murder, who can remember?
Did dreams cut a throat or fancies dismember?
What vengeance was born upon a cruel wave
and who knows the how or the why I was saved?

No eden that garden in which I was born
no hell is this isle upon which I’ve been thrown
for once and for all purgatory is my home
I would not trade it for a promise to come.

It is real, it is mine, this bright spit of sand
this anarchic ocean, this dark jungle land.
Here I know where to sit, and I know where I stand
I live by my wits and by my own hand.

Copyright Deane Juhan February 8, 2011
Illustration, by N.C. Wyeth, 1719, is from ebooks Adelaide 2009,
attributed under Creative Commons licensing
referenced on the ebook intro page