Sunday, February 12, 2012

Answering Up

Recently there was a very sad story on the news. A large cruise liner full of happy vacationers just starting out on their cruise was mishandled by her captain's orders and crashed on the rocks. Some of the passengers died, trapped in the ship. The passengers had not yet gone through a lifeboat drill, and the captain is alleged to have "jumped ship" or "fallen" (depending on whose story) into a life boat.I wrote a poem expressing a viewpoint. I have updated it to include suggested changes and I post it here.

Answering up

Poor man
I say, watching the TV,
police leading him away
humped back, bent head.

Poor man?
you say. He
jumped ship — no,
into a lifeboat,
left hundreds to die.

But who,

I say, has not jumped ship
in the face of danger?
or held his tongue
when he knew better?

Who has not put on,
that cloak of invisibility
called shame.

Not everyone,

you say
sets himself up
as the captain of the ship.

Why not?
I think, (holding my tongue).
. . . Poor man.

 Pam Blehert

On the face of it, I would appear to be excusing Captain Francesco Schettino's behavior. Look again. There is a more complex viewpoint. I may not (and you may not) have been responsible for the loss of the liner, but did we, on the other hand, ever step up to the challenge of leadership? Or were we ever ashamed of our deeds/ misdeeds/ or lack thereof?

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