Did he strike soundings off Vecta Insula?
or was it already the gavelkinda igland?1
Did he lie by
in the East Road?
was it a kindly numen of the Sleeve that headed him clear of South Sand Head?
Did he shelter in the Small Downs?
Keeping close in, did he feel his way
between the Flats and the Brake?
But, what was her draught, and, what was the ocean doing?
Did he stand on toward the Gull?
did his second mate sound
with more than care?
was it perforce or Fortuna’s rudder, circumstance or superb pilotage or clean oblation
that sheered him from smother
(the unseen necropolis2 banking to starboard of her).
Or was it she
Sea-born and Sea-star
whose own, easy and free
the pious matlos are3
or, was it a whim of Poseidon’s
(master o’ the cinque masters o’ lodemanage)4