Pg. 21 — THE OTHER CRUSOE by David Barber
Let us not speak of the shipwreck,
or the fleshly guise so painfully assumed,
or the things survival forced him to eat.
It was the faulty colour of the skies
and the wetness everywhere that made
the castaway struggle to remember home.
The advice of survivors is to seek
the solitude of wastes, or islands, try
contemplation as an aid to rescue.
Circumstance forced him to haunt the wrecks
of structures abandoned by the natives,
blending in with weeds and detritus,
though he faltered as year succeeded year.
The natives were numerous and ill-formed,
their lives brief and ignorant, and in time
he became like them. There was even one
who might have guessed, but remained faithful.
Then a passing ship came and took him off,
his forgotten beacon still calling out.
The crew did not judge, and allowed him time
and space to become his old self again,
whoever that was. Sometimes a voice
seemed familiar, though he knew Friday
must have died of age these many years since.