The Ferryman’s Sovereign

Posted: September 10, 2009 in La Poem

The Ferryman’s Sovereign

Reach not to your pocket for I want a sovereign and no more,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Don’t need your name for a sovereign is the price of my Oar,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Many a men and women have tried to cross this path before,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

They cried and wailed, “Oh, Ferryman take us to safety’s shore”
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Away from my boat or you shall taste my oar’s sway…away,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Weep not and curse not what you have in life always yearned for,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Favoring the yearning of the flesh you’ve neglected that of the soul,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Man laments and bemoans the blows of fate only when he is forlorn,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Alas, neither I, and nor you, know what the gods for us have in store,
With a breath so cold announced the Ferryman.

Without a sovereign and no more in this place you’ll toil evermore,
With a breath so old announced the Ferryman.

Comments
  1. Hend Abuenein says:

    Dear Mike..
    I would like you to help me understand this poem, please.

    I am confused as to what “sovereign” symbolizes

    It occurred to me from the first line that you might have meant to say “souvenir” instead of sovereign, because it replaces being given money from the pocket, maybe?

    But : “Without a sovereign and no more in this place you’ll toil evermore”
    I don’t understand.

    • mikevderderian says:

      Hello Hend,

      A Sovereign is a gold coin of the United Kingdom, equal to one pound sterling: went out of circulation after 1914.

      In Greek mythology Hades’ ferryman, Charon, carried the souls of the dead across the River Styx. A coin was required to pay Charon.

      I just used Sovereign to refer to that coin, which was supposed to be either an obolus or a danake.

  2. Addy says:

    انجليزي ده يا مرسي ؟؟؟ 😛
    just kidding mate , this poem remind me about all the novels and books i read about Greek mythology , as i remember there is a tradition being held till now days at Ireland and some cities in south America where they would but 2 gold or silver coins on the eyes of the dead or 1 coin in the mouth of the dead ! so they can bay the ferryman to cross to the other side ! , if you have some extra time you can also look up the sin eater ritual !!!
    any way it is really a great poem and i really enjoyed reading it , keep it up mate🙂

    • mikevderderian says:

      Last time I checked ;-})

      Glad you liked it Addy … Been a while since I wrote a poem that I deemed share-worthy. Will have to get back atop that lyrical beast that I’ve suppressed over the years.

      Hope you are well! Thank you for taking the time to leave me an encouraging comment :-})

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