'Your duck l'orange transcends,' the Padre says.
'Don't press me. I can't pack another pound
of fowl most mordant. I'll be needing stays.
Don't stay your pouring hand; another round
of Haut-médoc won't make my ghost abscond
and leave you here alone and washing up.'
He stops his speech to pour another cup
of coffee. 'If prayer wórked, this would be Scotch
and this wardroom distant as a wickiup
in which no cleric pulled an in-port watch.'
The Padre stows his gripes to take a call:
a sailor's dying from some creeping croup
contracted gallivanting. Carryall
with all to hand (book, candle, bell, and stoup),
the Padre dashes stoutly though the poop
deck to attend the feverish young man's side.
'Come back here!' Padre barks, 'Think of your bride!'
The sailor rallies, rises up to stare:
'She said "Yes" then?' The Padre, satisfied,
thinks, 'Grace arises from unanswered prayer.'