This one is in memory of my dad.
From “dead reckoning,” navigation based
Only on previously-known positions—
Or, more simply, navigation by guessing.
A new ship has set sail, its navigator
Not yet sure of himself, and he relies
On your guidance. How do you chart his course
When your own maps are so inaccurate
And your North Star is not clearly in view?
This shoreline seems fairly familiar but
The open sea offers landmarks no more
Familiar than the scratchings on your map
That proclaim “here be dragons.” You take soundings
Frequently, but you are out of your depth;
The ocean is fathomless, like your fear.
And still you do it; the truth is that guidance
Often consists of no more than a smile,
A hug, and a few words of encouragement.
And somewhere, “father” on, this young ship’s captain
Will undertake the training of another,
Amazed at your great knowledge of the sea.
There is no other way to learn the trade
Than by mastering the tradewinds firsthand.
It’s a skill passed down from father to son.