Disturb us, Lord, when we are too well pleased with ourselves, when our dreams have come true because we have dreamed too little, when we arrived safely because we sailed too close to the shore. From Sir Francis Drake’s Prayer, 1577.
Safety is overrated. I understand the need for caution, but I don’t want perfect safety because it doesn’t exist. If I valued safety over life, then I wouldn’t have got married, wouldn’t have had children, wouldn’t go to work, wouldn’t leave my house, wouldn’t dream, wouldn’t do anything. We are not called to safety; we are called to life. And I won’t settle for less or someone’s idea of the “new normal.” Though this poem comes from my archives, it never rang truer for me than today. Amen, Sir Francis Drake! (Here’s a brilliant fireside chat that further delves into the idea of “until it’s safe”)
For you poetry geeks out there (I know you exist!) this sonnet is one of my best examples of form fits function from the rhymes and the meter to the form as a whole. I’d be happy to walk anyone through a thorough close reading analysis if you have nothing else to do. 🙂
Sonnet of a Formerly Safe Man
vincent h. anastasi (2017)
Although to night I give my dreams unfurled
I’ve veiled such thoughts when day breaks on the world
And walked about a shell of who I am:
A scarecrow tossed among the hollow men.
What fears do chill the passions of my heart
And dash my hopes before I ever start?
For now I fear the safety of my ways
Has only paved a dull road to the grave.
Awake, my soul! Be done with lesser things!
Unmask the man that deep within you sings.
Let hollow men in safety have their fill;
I’ll dine upon the danger and the thrill
Of breaking free of expectations stable
To live and feast at vision’s unsure table.