Diamond Princess

Tess Ashton

13 February 2019

get stardust in my eyes
during worship
I’m cruising 
on a winsome sea
no land or others
just a breezy forever 
the wind’s got
the boat’s white sail 
full throttle
Jesus is near
With words of cool spirit fire
‘Look only to me
not left or right
keep your eyes on me 
We’re heading to a sunset
cosmic light 
ten thousand streams of happiness
not far from the swing 
of the foam

one dawn or two later 
songs by the ‘electric light orchestra’
tune in 
I rise and play
‘strange magic’ 
‘telephone line’
and ‘twilight’ 
on you-tube
several times

the words
of the songs
to a space
between earth and heaven
like the place between the
boat and home
in spring
my sister phones
‘come on a cruise to Japan
my shout 
we’ll board the diamond princess 
at Taipei‘

soon our soft-as-cloud beds 
swing light as coracles
swept up in the swish 
of the waves

the dance of the steward
seems almost anointed
beds smoothed
twice a day 
clothes lightly folded 
on pillows
his touch
like a thousand silent breezes
surprisingly ok

I’m thinking about love of course
and how it makes you feel
when nothing is required
but to receive 
and live a little

we check our tiaras 
at our choice of cruise eatery
consider delicious thoughts
of crepes and creamery
a menu without prices
a magical ingredient

book a massage 
or a rest 
on a hot stone bed
take a tour round a port
climb watch towers
and look out

river sampans drifting far below 
say Japan Japan

Japan in November 
shows off its 
and children
in blossom-soaked kimonos
it’s Shichi Go San
loving parents
are praying for long life 
and happiness
we take photos

in dappled 
shrine courtyards
priests rustle silently in sunshine
and shadow
one evening 
rugged-up on deck
juggling pizza and icy wine
the kaleidoscope that shoots 
cosmic light 
is back
we’re at Osaka 
and hard portside
its famous ferris wheel 
twice ship height
is going off

glory plays and winks
while we drink 
and eat
and chat

catch the sound of one wheel clapping
on cue
strikes up 
on the deck’s big screen
‘Hello, can you hear me
have you been alright?’
coming down 
the telephone line

‘Are you still the same? 
don't you realize the things we did
we did were all for real

not a dream?
I just can't believe
they've all faded out’ 

God has my full attention
as Robin 
books us
tomorrow’s afternoon 
of leisure
I think of times past
God and I working together
recall a thousand happy glances
at ‘the sanctuary’ 
a private attendant
brings us soft wool blankets
to soothe our loads of woe – ha 
our noses sniff 
a salty sky
a place of sighs let out

three courses 
of afternoon tea
of the heavenly sort 
can’t buy in ordinary shops 
I think
as I try one out

then a trolley 
wheeling sandwiches 
and angel cakes galore
each one pretty 
never tasted before
as we cruise 
to our final port
a thousand waves bow sorrowfully
I reach a chapter in my book
my heart jumps
He is speaking 
in tsunami sentences
‘I want to answer 
your prayers
and I will 
but first soak you 
in my love’ 

my riven heart
hears something along this line 
‘I have ships
sailing in living water
powered for high seas
you are both queens 
with domains of love
like these’

weeks later
the sky is
dusted in white
chrysanthemum pompoms
ten thousand graces sallying
white sails billowing

I listen again and write
love and healing
for the nations
sound the trumpets
blow the horns
prepare the way of the Lord’.


©Tess Ashton
Image Shutterstock