Brilliant as Betelgeuse,  say the crew 
as I peer through the sextant's eye, 
triangulate an arc of Pacific water 
west of Dakar. To know where you are 
must have been Galileo's dream, one eye 
riveted on earth's shadow roundly pressed 
across the moon. Must have been 
Vespucci's quest, adrift in the ocean's maw, 
waiting for the smell of America. Wind 
punches the genoa, sets my craft 

on beam planing across the waves. 
I am bounded by mean Greenwich time, 
fin keel bolted to my equator, tacking 
along the compass line. Slipping the water 
degree-by-degree like Da Vinci's man 
of windmill arms. If I perish at sea, 

chart my burial as if the world 
may decide to honour me, each second 
from harm and heaven to show 
exactly where I was born. 

Copyright 2000, Arthur Ginsberg 

Arthur Ginsberg is a Seattle neurologist and the author of a volume of poetry titled Walking the Panther (Northwood Press, 1984). His writing has been published in several journals, including Arnazella, Beacon Review, Spindrift, Embers, and Prickly Pear