The kraken goes shopping
I was on my way from leaving to arriving,
idling in a less-than-patient traffic queue,
when an unexpected monk
came tapping at my window.
He offered to paint my windscreen
for an altruistic price, and while he worked,
he shared the tragic story of his life.
… and that was how the voyage ended.
The vessel capsized, the mighty kraken squeezed
the shipping containers until they burst,
and all our quality products were lost
to the stormy sea.
As luck would have it, I reached the shore
on a makeshift raft of paper towels
and kitchen wipes.
I broke the awkward silence.
and all because
you used your crossbow
to skewer an albatross.
It might have been a seagull,
or a weather balloon,
or something else entirely.
I only know that I’ve been cursed,
that I must wander day by night
up and down the motorway,
painting windscreens as I go.
With a flourish of his brush,
the artwork was complete—
a masterly depiction of
a slightly spherical seagull.
But before he left, the curse
compelled a final verse.
Moderate your madness,
be conditional and circumspect,
and leave the waterfowl alone.
In your mind, you’re nobody’s temptation,
and yet you might be fate’s.
The words of that mysterious monastic
echoed in my head, and though my windscreen
was opaque, the path ahead shone brightly.
I would undertake a barefoot penance,
a pilgrimage to Port Botany,
there to seek forgiveness for my sins,
there to learn the secrets of the ocean,
there to find whatever truth was waiting.
I disembarked and crouched before
my Vauxhall Victor, addressed it
through the radiator grille.
You’re free to find your own true way,
but first, please take my shoes and socks
- A dash of shipping container fact
- Kraken China Miéville, 2010
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1798
artwork the kraken coast (detail above)