Ship of Theseus is a dilemma of identity that raises the following question: If all the parts of a ship have been replaced, does it still remain the same ship?

It’s a lore as old as all the fables
of trinkets lost and found.
It’s a tale as new as echo of chimes
of bells just swung around.

A mighty emperor once built
a glorious hill fort to reside,
and created armies and navies alike
to keep by his side.

That display of power was topped by
a vessel, sturdy and impervious;
thus began the life of eventually what
the world called ‘Ship of Theseus’.

Many a battle was fought on board
and many more averted.
This ship became the life of legends
on shores it ever skirted.

Oh! The tales of its won glories
reached home before it made harbor
and lived on for generations to come,
on lands far and farther.

For centuries, its veneration continued
just as time took its toll.
In places that once shone brightly
formed many a tiny hole.

The people took care of it all,
replacing every bit that faltered.
And thus was replaced the mast and spar,
and deck was gradually altered.

The rudders that once guided the course
had withered and needed replacement,
just as the cleat and anchor turned
from whole to mere fragments.

The ship really needed the fixing
or so was the general opinion.
No one really noticed how each fix
sent the original parts to oblivion.

One day, a child wandered about
to play by the ship’s quarters.
She reached and exclaimed, “this isn’t the ship!”
to the people replacing the hawser.

And that’s when the people took notice
with cries, squeals and tremor.
In an effort to save the whole of it,
the ship was lost forever.


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© Ship of Theseus by Neha Sharma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.