Beside My Captain


20, September 2007

I don't own, have permission to use, or profit from any canon elements. A few lines were filched from Whitman's poem, and the disclaimer extends to that as well.

O Captain! my Captain!...

Come and sit beside me, around tonight's fire, and tell this nameless one
of yet another story I have not heard quite yet.
Let me laugh at your escapades, the funny accents you mimic,
the memorised literature I should be learning in school.
Just let me forget the battle we had today, help your unnamed let you
keep your mind off how we lost First-Mate and four suits.

Come and sit beside me in this unfamiliar camp, and say
how proud you are of my small hands managing still the heavy controls.
Let me know I did good as any of your men, today or otherwise,
because it is tearing me apart inside thinking your quiet is dismissal.
Let me know it was not my fault we lost four suits and a good man,
that you are not angry for my young mind miscalculating that trajectory.

The town is not too far away,
I will work there all day tomorrow to scrape up the monies
to buy you oranges and a casket.
The town is not too far away,
we could easily find some work that takes us far from here
and it will be just another battle soon.

Come and sit beside me, please, you don't have to hold my hand,
I'm old enough now that you should treat me like the others.
But I worry about you maybe more than they, because you are my captain,
my captain my father, they are family and we lost a good one tonight.
Tell me why you seem so sad, you were not as close as with the gunner
but you mourn First-Mate more and say we need more MSs than the plenty.

Come and sit beside me, I will bandage up your wounds tonight --
I am more than skilled in the art of sutures now that I am ten.
Let me tell you how much I love you, and listen to the nightingale
who sings a mournful dream that echoes in the aftermath nightmares.
The battlefield is not so barren and the daisies splashed with blood
are not your fault, it is your job, our mercenary group had no choice.

The empty spaces at our fire mean nothing,
we all know the risks and if tomorrow never comes
it was their fault not ours or yours.
The empty spaces at our fire mean nothing,
but reflect infinitely in your eyes as you look at me
and speak my namelessness.

Come and lay beside me now, in the small green tent for sleep,
and let me hear your whispered prayers to this foul-weather god.
Take this cross about my throat and squeeze it tight in calloused hands
that could strike me down easily if ever you did not pull back your strength.
Sleep and hold me this long night through, revelling in memory of
that debacle of a phyrric fight, the stomach twisting when numbers were shown.

Come and lay beside me, here in our camp perimetres, where
we are safe come morn, alone come breky, and bereaved come next battle.
Promise me in broken English, the gunner's easy German, French Spanish
I don't care, just say to me we won't be like that, that you will never ever leave me.
Brave the bitter taste of death and take me with you where ever you shall go,
for I am your unnamed and you are my captain and no merc job is worth that loss.

But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.


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