A night on the sea

Our moorings dropped, our course is set, the shore falls off our lee
Our spirits high, our boat is strong, full sails are pulling free
The tiller answers my command; we soon can see no sign of land
She heels and hangs and cuts the breeze; the spray a splendid rainbow band
As she skims the shimmering sea

The puffs blow somewhat stronger now; we free the sheets some wind to spill
The gunwale dips, we reef the main; she shakes and trembles with the thrill
We crack a beer and suck it back, we chuckle as we make her tack
She lifts her head then crashes down with a loud resounding thwack
As she powers through the choppy sea

As night sets in the gusts pick up and soon they pipe and shrilly whine
The sky blacks out, the moon is lost, the firmament we can’t divine
Bag the headsail, tuck the main; batten gainst the salty rain
Life lines on when up on deck; our ship is tracking like a train
As she splinters the phosphorous sea

The sheets strain at the winches now, the wild wolf gale loudly keens
The tiller shakes my captain’s hand; I fight her by all human means
The rudder chatters in its course, the boat is like a rampant horse
Sea boots seek out the cockpit sides, to help me muster all my force
As she battles the building sea

The wind shrieks like a siren shrill, the yacht is moving very fast
Our eyes can’t pierce the black of night, but weaving waves are sheer and vast
To slow the boat sea anchors trail, we carry not a shred of sail
Green water dumps on cringing crew and white froths flying twist and flail
As she bends to the punishing sea

Lips are tight, the humour’s gone, except some hollow nervous cracks
Thunder-bolts the black skies rend, ragged lightning forks and tracks
Water walls like switchback rides, with jagged hollow tearing sides
She crests them like a raging bull that we must somehow stay astride
As she Bucks on the rodeo sea

Then just when aching muscles cry that they can do their work no more
The wind grows less; we take deep breaths, our battered bodies tired and sore
Homewards now we weary tread, to welcome soup and warm soft bed
“Same time, same place next week old chums”. That’s all that’s ever heard or said
Home to sail in our dreams on the sea.

Goto poetry