The leading lights of the age all wondered among themselves what I would do next. After all that I'd found, in my circles around the world, was there anything left?
"Gentlemen," I said, "I've studied the maps, and if what I am thinking is right, there's another new world, at the top of the world, for whoever can break through the ice."
I looked 'round the room, in that way I once had, and I saw that they wanted belief, so I said, "All I've got are my guts and my God," then I paused, "and the Annabel Lee."
Oh, the Annabel Lee, I saw their eyes shine, the most beautiful ship in the sea -- my Nina, my Pinta, my Santa María, my beautiful Annabel Lee...
That spring we set sail, and the crowd waved from shore, and on board the sailors waved caps, but I'd never had family, just the Annabel Lee, so I never had cause to look back. I just studied the charts, set the course north, and towards dark I drifted toward sleep, and I dreamed of the fine, deep harbor I'd find past the ice, for my Annabel Lee.
After that, it got colder, and the world got quiet. It was never quite day or quite night, and the sea turned the color of sky turned the color of sea turned the color of ice. After that, all around us was vastness, one glassy desert of arsenic white, and the waves that once lifted us, shifted instead into drifts against Annabel's sides. And the crew gathered closer, at first for the comfort, but each morning would bring a new set of tracks in the snow, leading over the edge of the world, till I was the only one left. After that, it gets cloudy, but it feels like I laid there for days, or maybe for months, but Annabel held me, the two of us happy, just to think back on all we had done.
I told her of the other new worlds we'd discover as she gave up her body to me. As I chopped up her mainsail for timber, I told her of all that we still had to see. As the frost turned her moorings to nine-tails and the wind lashed her sides in the cold, I burned her to keep me alive every night in the loving embrace of her hold.
I can't call it rescue, what brought me back here to this old world to drink and decline. Pretend that the search for another new world was well worth the burning of mine, but sometimes at night, in my dreams, comes the singing of some unheard tropical bird, and I smile in my sleep, thinking Annabel Lee's finally made it to the top of the world. Yeah, sometimes at night in my dreams comes the singing of some unheard tropical bird, and I smile in my sleep, thinking Annabel Lee's finally found another new world.
(~ by Josh Ritter,
"Another New World", #11
from the album "So Runs the World Away" ~)
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