In Plato's Republic a ship of fools sailed—
can you see one now, just rounding the bend?
Already the ship lists heavily, its new captain
unskilled and lacking in sailorly knowledge.
Will the ship capsize? Chaos sweeps the deck,
its sailors bumbling their jobs as the ship veers
first toward one shore, then the other. From on high
descends a flurry of orders to right the vessel,
but their predicament grows worse by the moment.
Each sailor, believing to have the answer to their peril,
snitches and backstabs, crying foul of the rest.
Blood and curses fly, their captain at the helm inept,
or disinterested. Erratically onward they sail,
mutinous words like life jackets tossed about.
Someone barks an order—another sailor
no more skilled, rising up to wrest command,
but little does it matter: onto its side rolls the ship,
its unruly crew leaping overboard—
the captain fleeing in a lifeboat lugging gold.
Once tall and stately, the ship takes on water,
some fortunate ballast preventing its quick demise.
Will a wiser captain and crew come to the rescue?
Or will this ship, and its storied past, be remembered
for those who so miserably sailed it last?
Darrell Petska's writing appears in The Missing Slate, Whirlwind, Verse-Virtual, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, previously in TheNewVerse.News, and numerous other publications. Darrell cut short his career as a university editor to be the arbiter of his own words. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.