Chapter 35: The Mast-Head

Everyone has at least one thoughtful place in the world — ocean, mountains, cliffs, campfire — where everyday thoughts give out to abstraction. I have always been particularly affected by moving water of any kind — an ocean, a creek, often even a shower will do it. High places also tend to inspire philosophy for me. I remember several moments in my travels at various ruins, sitting on top of a pyramid on top of a hill, looking over a valley of farmland below, and losing all sense of time or place. Everything gets so small that it’s hard not to think big.

Facing a combination of moving water and high places, I imagine that I would be one of those useless young mast head standers, lost in thought and beauty and not doing my job, like the right-fielder at a Little League game, or Ferdinand the Bull.

Chapter 35: The Mast-Head

Saint Stylites on a pillar in the desert,
What is he looking for?
Like a priest in the tower of Babel —
What is he looking for?

Stand we now, fast to the columns of grandeur,
As a colossus, yeah!
Up in the trees, with the world overflowing —
What more to conquer, hey?

Here do we sway; destitute,
Languorous days; amplitude
Of the humble-most waves
Move us far and wide.

See Captain Sleet, high and mighty in the crow’s nest —
A token advantage, oh!
Power reduced to convenience, common pleasures
Painted a noble hue.

And we, not bemused
For exposed through and through!

(c) and (p) 2009 Patrick Shea
Words and music written by Patrick Shea July 11, 2009
All parts performed, arranged, and recorded by Patrick Shea April 11, 2010