What man commands this ship of State? O who will navigate?
Who’ll set her course and keep her straight? O who will navigate?

When did hypocrisy and greed become our prized template?
Long may the learned cogitate — but who will navigate?

Now tolerance has ceased to be a virtue we all fete
and honesty’s a paltry thing we can but simulate, O who will navigate?

The game is up. Our scheme’s undone. We can’t negotiate.
We’re lost at sea without a mate. So who will navigate?

The mariners are scurvy knaves, a bunch of reprobates.
They’re wild on rum and full of hate. O who will navigate?

And if our ship of State is wrecked must we capitulate?
It’s far too late to expiate. O who will navigate?

About the Artist

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley (formerly Wyatt) writes poetry and short fiction from her home in Penzance in Cornwall. Since 2009, her work has appeared in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies including The Blue Nib, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Atrium, Fragmented Voices, The Lake and The Atlanta Review. Abigail was one of the poets featured in Wave Hub: new poetry from Cornwall (2014) edited by Dr Alan M Kent and published by Francis Boutle while, in 2019, a dozen or so poems were translated into Romanian for the literary journals Pro Saeculum and Banchetul.  In the same year, Bull Male, Sleeping was chosen for Poems on the Move by the Guernsey Literary Festival and appeared 'on the buses' throughout the summer season. In 2011, Abigail won the One Million Stories Writing Challenge.  The result was Old Soldiers, Old Bones and Other Stories (ed. S. Million), a collection of twenty-two stories which was written at the rate of a story every week to a series of prompts provided. This was a demanding and invaluable exercise. A writer cannot sit staring at an empty page with this kind of schedule to meet!

When not writing Abigail can be found painting, embroidering or, sometimes, hooking rugs out of old t-shirts. She also enjoys walking by the sea with David,  her singer-songwriter husband and her little dog, Percy. Professionally speaking, Abigail was for many years a teacher until ill health forced her retirement.. She is now primary carer to her very elderly mother.

Abigail author's page can be found at https://www.facebook.com/abigailelizabethwyatt/

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