No man has been my keel.
No man has climbed over risky waters
to help hold me steady.
(“Balancing Act,” p. 41)
Campbell’s love for the sea is contagious. “I remain a child of the sea, / …still hear the sirens / calling…” (“Aftermath: Thirty Years Later,” p. 89), she writes in her final poem. She had heard those sirens in the northern waters at the trip’s beginning but lost them as they traveled further south. Writing these poems and compiling them into Sea Trails gave her closure to a part of her life that can be no more. Although the story lacks a fairy-tale ending — with a man and his princess living happily ever-after, perhaps on a ship-castle — Campbell says she has no regrets.
Taken on a sea-journey through words, I am thankful that Pris Campbell chose to share this important part of her life with me and with those who choose to tag along through Sea Trails: Poems and 1977 Passage Notes. And for the part I will not tell, see “Afterword” (p. 90).