The Captain becomes moody at sea. He’s
afraid of water; such bully amounts that prove the
seas. . .

A glass of water is one thing. A man easily downs
it, capturing its menace in his bladder; pissing it
away. A few drops of rain do little harm, save to
remind of how grief looks upon the cheek.

One day the water is willing to bear your ship
upon its back like a liquid elephant. The next day
the elephant doesn’t want you on its back, and
says, I have no more willingness to have you
there; get off.

At sea this is a sad message.

The Captain sits in his cabin wearing a
parachute, listening to what the sea might say. . .

Analysis, meaning and summary of Russell Edson's poem The Sad Message

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