To the Harbormaster
I wanted to be sure to reach you;
though my ship was on the way it got caught
in some moorings. I am always tying up
and then deciding to depart. In storms and
at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide
around my fathomless arms, I am unable
to understand the forms of my vanity
or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder
in my hand and the sun sinking. To
you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage
of my will. The terrible channels where
the wind drives me against the brown lips
of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet
I trust the sanity of my vessel; and
if it sinks, it may well be in answer
to the reasoning of the eternal voices,
the waves which have kept me from reaching you.
This is the first poem from O'Hara's book, Meditations in an Emergency. I loved typing this, the long drawn last line, keeping us from reaching the end, like waves lapping, though the stated aim in the first line (also the shortest line in the poem) was to reach you. The tender turn at "to / you I offer my hull and the tattered corgage / of my will." The way he codes all his desires. This book, always a refuge.
a place on the coast where vessels may find shelter, especially one protected from rough water by piers, jetties, and other artificial structures. "fishing in the harbor"
synonyms: port, dock, haven, marina; mooring, moorage, anchorage; waterfront, harborside
a part of the ocean, a lake, etc. that is next to land and is protected and deep enough to provide safety
a place of refuge, security, comfort. "the offered harbor of his arms"
synonyms: refuge, haven, safe haven, shelter, sanctuary, retreat, place of safety, port in a storm
keep (a thought or feeling) in one's mind, especially secretly; to conceal or hide. "she started to harbor doubts about the wisdom of their journey"
synonyms: bear, nurse, nurture, cherish, entertain, foster, hold on to, cling to
give a home, refuge, or shelter to. "woodlands harbored a colony of red deer"
to house or contain
hide a criminal or wanted person. "he was suspected of harboring an escaped prisoner"
synonyms: shelter, conceal, hide, shield, protect, give sanctuary to; take in, put up, accommodate, house
carry the germs of a disease
archaic (of a ship or its crew) moor in a harbor "he might have harbored in San Francisco"
late Old English herebeorg ‘shelter, refuge,’ herebeorgian ‘occupy shelter,’ of Germanic origin; related to Dutch herberge and German Herberge, 'lodging, quarters,' also to French auberge ‘inn’; see also harbinger.