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Russell Edson - Paying The Captain

We get on a boat, never mind if it sinks, we pay 
the captain by throwing him overboard. And when he 
gets back onboard we say, captain, please don't be 
angry. And he forgives us this time. And so we throw 
him overboard again just to make sure we have fully 
paid the price we have set upon our passage. When he 
gets back onboard he is not anxious to forgive us, 
and he would like it much better if we would get off 
his boat. There is nothing left for us to do but to 
repay him and hope that this time it will be enough. 
And so we throw him overboard again. When he comes 
aboard again we say, now this must be the last of 
this, we will pay no more, we want the journey to 

  But it seems there will be no journey since we have 
gotten the captain used to a good thing. And so we 
must spend the rest of our days throwing the captain 

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 4123 times | Comments and analysis of Paying The Captain by Russell Edson Comments (1)

Paying The Captain - Comments and Information

Poet: Russell Edson
Poem: Paying The Captain
Poem of the Day: Aug 30 2007

Comment 1 of 1, added on January 15th, 2006 at 6:29 PM.

Edson is a zen master! ALL of his work is stimulating, thought-provoking and, in a sense, mystical....in this particular poem, simply substitute "the captain," for one's self-seeking ego and you get the picture!! brilliant.

Dr. Noah Young from United States

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