It feels brave to sail a ghostly galleon
Across purple seas but the day comes
When the owner wants profit, not romance;
The market in gypsy ribbons is depressed
There are few buyers for hair like moldy hay.
Years ago such ships in lean times
Might ferry ghosts across the Channel.
Frenchmen – you can look this up –
Used to itch to leave France when they died;
Caesar saw their ghosts crowding the sides
Of vessels that sat low in the water.
What will our deceased wives say
If we come back after so many years
Without money, without songs,
Our pockets stuffed only with ribbons?