From Otia Sacra
By MildMay Fane.

He only happy is, and wise
Can run his barque when tempests rise,
Know how to lay the helm and steer,
Lie on a track, port and career,
Sometimes to weather, then to lee,
As waves give way and winds agree;
Nor boom at all in such a stress,
But by degrees loomless and less.
Ride out a storm with no more loss
Than the endurance of a toss;
For though he cannot well bear sail
In such a fresh and powerful gale,
Yet when there is no other shift,
Think't not amiss to ride a drift;
To shut down ports and tyers to bale in,
To seal the hatch up with tarpalin;
To ply the pump and no means slack
May clear her bilge and help from wrack;
To take in cloth and, in a word,
Unlade and cut the mast by board.
So spoon before the winds and seas,
When though she'll roll, she'll go at ease;
And not so strained as if laid under
The wave that threatens sudden founder;
And whilst the fury and the rage
Leaves little hope for anchorage;
Yet if she can but make a coast
In any time, she'll not be lost,
But in affection's bay will find
A harbour suited to her mind.


My jaw set in a grim line as my eyes met those of the truck driver beside me. Our speedos locked on 75 and my my billowing jacket suddenly decompressed as my aerodynamic profile reached optimisation.

I had been riding for just under an hour, estimate endurance three hours, destination nowhere in particular. There was one main purpose for this morning's trip. Well, sure, I wanted to get out of the house, get some fresh air, and not have to talk to anyone. But there was another reason for it: successfully keep in peak hour traffic for three hours, suppressing any other thoughts that are trying to kill you, and you'll be a better man; fail to give the road your complete and undivided attention, and you'll most likely end up a dead man.

A storm was raging inside my head. My girlfriend had publicly acknowledged what I dreaded for weeks but she had refused to confirm or deny: she had been cheating on me. No, she didn't consider it cheating, she didn't consider I existed any more.

My gaze moved from the computer screen in the cop car beside me as the lights changed, and I gave him a slight nod, planting my right foot in the muzzle clasping the end of my lower appendage.

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