Scientists say it’s just a mirage,
but sailors claim the ghost ship floats
in air, with stormy seas below.
Again he tries to round Cape Hope.
Captain van der Decken angered God
one savage 18th Century night.
Vowed he’d sail till “Judgment Day,”
to cross the Table Bay, he’d fight.
The Flying Dutchman disappeared
sank deep in foggy, wind-swept sea,
but the captain’s doomed to walk the deck
each night in perpetuity.
King George the Fifth, the Prince of Wales
are two who saw the Dutchman.
Although these royal heirs survived,
most meet death -- the captain’s omen.
His curse prevails in Wagner’s Opera
and Washington Irving’s story;
crews tremble, ghost ship emerges
Dutchman floats in frightening glory.
So many sailors and their ships
still meet demise on starless nights,
when demons steer the Dutchman
and a vengeful God reads last rites.
Till this day the Flying Dutchman
looms threatening on a ravaged sea.
For Judgment Day the captain waits,
luring crews to their destiny.
*Entry for the Story Poem contest.
I looked up at a silver moon
Peering through a cloud of misty gloom
As we sailed across the Atlantic Sea
That fateful night in June
And as I stood upon the bow
A furrow crossed my troubled brow
When I saw a dying star fall from the sky
As the wind out of the north
Began to cry
'Twas then with fearful heart
I came at last to realize
That we were sailing
On a wave of ill-tidings
Known as 'The Devil's Tide'
For no omen of the sea
Brought more fear than thee
A fallen star - a silver moon
Together in the month of June
If legend true would surely bring us doom
So with no trace of land in sight
We sailed onward through the night
I - the Captain 'Louie Lou'
With my faithful crew
Aboard the 3 mast schooner 'Angel - of the Blue'
On canvas wings we flew
Upon the wailing wind that blew
Then suddenly a hush of malaise
Crushed the summer night
Filling all the crew with dreadful fright
As all the stars in heaven lost their light
And the silver moon dipped completely out of sight
Leaving us to drift without guidance
To our unknown plight
An eerie sound began to roll out of the west
Growing louder and louder as we held our breath
Until it was upon us and the ship began rise
As we looked in horror into the Devil's eye
As the Angel of the Blue began to fly
Up the Devil's breast she climbed 20 fathoms high
One by one the Angel's wings were torn away
As she fought to save us from the Devil's rage
Screams of horror falling from her timber sides
As the crew fell into the Devil's tide
And I - tethered to the helm - watched them die
As we climbed even higher into the Devil's eye
And as the Angel's body creaked and cracked
We finally scaled the crest and rode upon the Devil's back
Just before I fainted and my world went black
I woke up in the morning high on a mountain side
Never knowing just how I had survived
knowing only that my Angel and my crew had died
Many years have come and gone since then
And I am forever haunted by each and every one of them
My faithful crew and my mighty 'Angel of the Blue'
I see their faces in my dreams
As I awaken to their screams
Wishing, too - that I had died
But someone had to live
To tell the tale of the 'Devil's Tide'.
Author: Elaine George
Entry for contest: Legends
Awarded: First Place
We bound down the stairs, out into the light-of-day, and into the blue of the
misty breezes, heavily laden with the smell of wild sea salt roses that grow in
perfusion along the winding road, that bends and turns in gentle lifts and dips to
the other side of the bay, where it crosses the bridge and rises up and winds
away, over the hill.
Overhead the seagulls screech and glide over the ocean spray that washes on
the rocks on the lower banks behind our house along the Fundy Bay, where we
run like the wind through the fields of fresh cut hay and make our way to the
rocky mantle below .
There in the volcanic plateau, worn smooth as glass by the constant rolling
weight of the ocean, is our pool, known by all in our village, as ‘Lizza’s Bathtub’,
created by the eruption of the earth’s inner core, millennia’s ago.
We slip into the still, salty water that has been warmed beneath the blazing sun,
and float with the perry winkles and tiny crabs and listen to the sound of the
ocean, that roars beneath us as it leaves in the receding tide, while we drift
away, in our minds, my little brother the ‘King’ and I, the ‘Queen’ for a day on
the ‘Fundy Bay’.
It was in July of 1945
And the USS Indianapolis
Had a crew of nearly 12 hundred alive
But a Japanese sub fired and did not miss
American sailors had completed their job
Delivering parts for the first atomic bomb
Some sank with the ship, others in the sea did bob
No food, few lifeboats, ocean deceptively calm
Surprise attack, no distress signal had been sent
It was four days later those floating were spotted
The survival rate was just 25 percent
With hundreds of sailors’ bodies the sea was dotted
In the movie “Jaws” as Captain Quint had related,
“The sharks came cruisin'. So we formed into tight groups.”
Six men per hour were killed while for help they waited
All were lost but 316 Navy troops
Some victims died of exposure or starvation
But far more were killed by the sharks that had attacked
These men lost their lives in service to our nation
But bomb parts delivered had a deadlier impact
One of the last ships that was sunk in World War II
The Indianapolis had turned the war’s tide
With a mission carried out by a courageous crew
Victory was soon celebrated by allies worldwide
This is an entry for the History Poems contest
I tasted summer…
It sure tasted good
I was dying for a sip
Of my iced coffee CHINO
Only in Cyprus…
My drug of choice
Crushed ice with sweetened coffee
In the evenings
succulent watermelon treats
Eating it all with relish
Even the seeds
I tasted summer…
In that first dive into the pool
Immersed in liquid delight
I touched the bottom of the pool
Two dolphins painted there
Let me have my way...
I did a handstand
Legs pointed straight up into the air
The water running down my legs
Straight up....I held on
In my element
My hair flowing around me
As I did my strokes
Diving in and out of the water
That's how I got described
by the one who watched,
"Your so agile"
I thought…OH…this is better...
Better that a sensual high
There was I
Gliding in and out
Water above, below, all around
Splashing around me
Playing...playing with my hair
Saturating my soul
Below the surface
I swim underwater
The width of the pool
I thrust up for air
Water slides off my body
The sun kisses me
Applauding the feat
I taste summer
It sure tastes good
Salty scent in my hair
My body slathered in sunscreen
Sand clinging to me
My sensing feasting
On every single thing...
My eyes delighted
A small September crowd
Enjoys the breeze
that creates the waves
I wade into the water
Intake of breath
It's refreshingly cold
The water laps at my legs
crawling further and further up
Making me gasp
I dive into the waves
One by one
I push myself high
My face to the shore
They pound on my back
I take a deep breath and let them roll over me
Enjoying the roughness
That "out of control" feeling
This is greater than me
I lie back
White puffs: baby angel breath clouds
I let the sun ravish
The water carries me
I forget everything
My mind blank like the blue sky
There is nothing but the NOW
And there am I
Salty and sweet
Oh, so, happy, am, I!
She climbed the liquid staircase
Just to gaze at gleaming stars;
All she wanted was a wee one
To light up her fair boudoir.
A thousand times she spied them
Flash across the midnight sky;
She strained so high to catch one,
But the mermaid could not fly.
Exhausted with hard striving,
She lay back against the sea,
Rocking on the waves, gently,
As she rested peacefully.
The moon, climbing his set arc,
Saw her glist'ning on the foam;
At first sight so madly loved
Her, longing to take her home.
To lightly comb her flowing
Hair, he sent a small moonbeam,
Who tangled in her tresses
And woke her from her dream.
With a flash, her glitt'ring tail
Slapped the water and she fled,
Sliding down in the ocean,
Hiding in her pearl lined bed.
The moon, absent one moonbeam,
Wanders heaven, round and round,
Surveying seas and oceans,
Praying his mermaid is found.
Sometimes in the deep, dark pool
He sees a shining light start
Beneath the frothing billows,
And he clutches for his heart.
Forever in his orbit...
She, forever in the waves,
Her hair with his beam glowing,
All of love he ever gave.
May 31, 2014
Dark thoughts emerging from a lifeless spirit,
a wandering ship sinking into the remotest depths;
denying itself reality and its sense of comfort...
and was ever there a lighthouse to disperse its darkness?
A captain stirring his erring ship,amid furious waves,
for an imminent and fierce war,
not noticing the making of its destiny...
fighting unnecessary battles of ambiguity,
hoping that luck would bring it safely ashore;
even a small island was hidden from his gaze!
An unwise listener would not take advice from anybody,
he didn't reject it embracing his own vulnerability;
a good decision that didn't imply a cost...
would he ever been discouraged or lost?
For uncountable years, this eager sea-man,
resisted and spoiled many pleasures for victory...
freezing time to avoid another tragedy
with a perception so sharp to defy anyone's will!
And did he deserve the harshest judgment
from others, who were pleased with their fate?
Loneliness was chosen by him
for unequivocal reasons and he craved it
like the bitterest, strongest wine
to make him strong and invincible...
nothing swayed him from his pride
to obtain that impossible goal!
Before spring came, in late February
to the blooming and jolly hills
I ran, breathing heavily and frantically,
touching the perfumed blossoms
of a solitary, old cherry tree;
and underneath it I sat writing poetry
that hadn't a perfect rhyme and beat!
Weren't my skills marred by imperfections?
Canaries and red-breasted robins
flew down and rested on my outstretched legs;
perusing my lines to spot their names,
and when they did, they flapped their wings in gladness!
I could have imagined their joyful words,.
if only they had acquired the gift of speech,
and deeper in their thoughts I would have reached:
to dispel the myth that they had no feelings...
After my short poem was completed,
I reached for my harmonica to play my favorite classic tune;
and being surprised by the paleness of the fading moon,
I dedicated that happy melody to her not to let her despair:
by waving my hand to make her farewell less sad, while I whispered,
" Silent moon, eternal companion of every poet,
what's beyond the realm of this universe?...
Tell us more of those invisible suns and planets! "
Before spring came to the dormant valley,
the mountains' peaks allowed the sun to melt their snows,
to create gushing torrents to feed its water to the dry and cracked soil,
which needed rain instead of harmful frost;
and I drank the freshest water and washed my sweaty face,
while fighting off the bees' stubborn rivalry!
That spring has come again to dress herself with incredible splendor,
and this discontent and wishful heart desires nothing more than being there!
My theme is: Happiness In Childhood
Murky sea this day as she wades chest deep
Battling strong waves with every step
No other swimmers, no lifeguards, no sun
Nary a gull on the beach so windswept
Solitude is her preference, she floats
Closes her eyes, attempts to clear her head
She’s tossed about, but opts to remain
She’d rather be here than alone in bed
Suddenly she feels a slippery nudge
To her feet she slips, scans surrounding sea
No life in sight, but she’s drifted out far
Her heart pumps fast, she swims feverishly
Another bump! Is this her worst nightmare?
Sea creature preying ‘neath turbulent surf?
White caps surround and her cries reach no ears
A painful sting, she’s p
For Gareth's "Leave Me Hanging" challenge
The sweet neck of her life came adorned with dazzling jewels of the ages;
jewels imbued with holy virtues, long before she was born.
She rose, alone, Venus veiled above a sparkling sea,
her love light flashing wherever she gazed.
As she spun her cosmic spiral, a tiger, hungry with anger and bitterness,
tore at the veil, hoping to claim victory—fire and passion.
Each time she dipped her head, trying to free herself from the ships of ancient
torments that lay anchored at her throat, the tiger roared for more,
devouring jewel upon jewel—fire upon fire, passion upon passion.
She lay, alone, her carotid adornment shortened by the tiger’s every move,
her virtues struck down until she was left grasping at a choker
‘round her throat, her life soon to end.
Then, in the billowing clouds of her torment, she saw Diana rising from the sea.
She stood on an iridescent ivory shell, her arrow poised to strike.
The tiger raged, but could not pierce the clouds.
A red fury filled with fire and passion shot from its hell-born eyes;
its massive jaws spewed hot saliva that set the sea on fire.
The sea itself cried out, “Golden Diana, make your arrow swift and sure;
the world in Venus is quickly fading.
Strike now, the tiger, and restore all aright!”
Even while the prayer was being uttered,
Diana’s aim proved its power as the arrow found the tiger’s heart.
In a flash, Venus was restored,
her long strand of jewels aglow,
the tiger at her side.
Together they stood in a deep, iridescent ivory shell
and made their way out to sea
with a wind that was sure and true.
All was set aright. All was free
as they sailed into the rising moon,
her Venus jewels lighting the way.
Written in contemplation of Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a
Pomegranate, One Second before Awakening, by Salvador Dali. (1944)
It was still dark when I arrived at five o’clock
I commenced the day by going to the wrong dock
I was a little concerned that I may be late
When I arrived they were still loading bait.
The boat started up with a thunderous sound
You must stay the channel so you don’t run a ground
Next you head into the safety of the bay
Everyone’s quiet with not much to say.
As we turn the corner the sun divides the sky and sea
A blend of orange, purple and blue explode in front of me
The sea starts to pick up and the boat gets tossed
A peace grows within all else is lost…
You pull the traps up in what’s called a set
You winch them on board to see what you get
My job was to restock the bait
It seemed kind of an ironic fate.
It was pretty hard work yet so much fun
Me, the boat, the sky and the sun
We had a pretty good catch and turned to go back
The auto pilot planned our course of attack
On the way in you wash down the boat
It cleaned up quite well with water and soap.
As I view around me as it was time to go
The sea put on its own picture show.
When we returned to the river the tide had come in
All of the lobsters had been placed into bins
The boat was too tall to fit under the bridge
Like smooth sailing and then hitting a ridge.
We had to unload the boat so the catch wouldn’t be lost
Our pride and a little work was all that it cost
When we had finished it was time to rest
Having comfort in knowing we did our best.
We cleaned up and had dinner to end the day
This is my lobster tale of today
Everyone found humor in what I had to say
Then we said goodbye and went on our way.
When I got home I fell fast asleep
I dreamed of a bottom far too deep
It was a long day and I needed to rest
The lobster became someone else’s dinner guest.
Ruddy faced tots
lick ice pellets
off soggy red mittens...
Back when I was twelve, my dad built me a dabchick
I had great fun learning how to sail it getting many dunking's
Us kids used to sail around the harbour and race to the spit.
One day after racing back and forth several times,
the wind started to pick up and the others headed ashore.
But I carried on, this was way too fun as I sped about.
The squall grew stronger and I turned turtle several times
up righting my boat I foolishly carried on until as I up ended her
I was hit on the head, dazed I sat on the up turned hull.
Unable in the squall's strength to get her up right
I clung to the centre board and watched the harbour wall get closer
too dazed to realise the danger I was in I just sat there waiting.
Lucky for me the yacht club notified the life boat and it came out,
rescued in the nick of time they took me aboard and dried me off.
They towed my dabchick still turned turtle back to the yacht club.
My parents Dad especially were furious and I was grounded for
the rest of the summer while dad repaired my dabchick.
My humiliation was complete when the local paper covered my rescue.
I learnt that day to respect the sea and treat it with caution.
My story could have ended so differently. Yet I remained a dare devil
and went through two very bad car clashes with barely a scratch.
Now at last much wiser I take things much more steadily
and rarely take such risks after all I am not invincible.
Just someone who pushed her luck right to the edge.
contest: Near Death or Near Life Experience
Waves of Change
Changes in life descriptionalized
In comparison to waves of the ocean
Our bodies are made mostly of water
A body of water with flowing emotions
Now an ocean will flow peacefully
Until there is a bit of turbulence
Disrupting from a smooth flow
With the up and down currents
As we walk onto a new path
A different kind of feeling steps in
New ventures can be scary in thought
Of what is left behind when we begin
An air of difference can bring on a spin
To a funnel effect as does a water spout
Sometimes when in the spin motion cycle
We are shaded by clouds and cannot see out
When actually caught within the spin
We do not see the change is there
Our sense of direction is lost
We become totally unaware
If you are the one caught
Within that fast paced spin
You will not be able to see
The shape you are really in
That’s the time we need someone
To give us a tap on the shoulder
It’s not a matter of who knows more
Or which one of the other is older
You’ll need a friend like Dory was
Saying to just keep swimming the sea
To never give up your hopes and dreams
As changes in life really just happen to be
Florence McMillian (Flo)
Light is fading
over the blackened bay
and Judy calls
without anything to say
I hear her voice
talking of prices
while the light fades
even more over the bay
Now bay is dark,
and Judy says goodbye
The telephone sits humbly
waiting for tomorrow
As the days turned to night we would find ourselves pondering our futures
The sky was red in the west as the sun set upon our dreams
We would drop the sails and let her drift
The current our only salvation
Take us where you will and damn the rest
For we had nowhere to be and no one to see
Sometimes we would drift for days and lollygag about the decks
Swimming in the sea or fishing for tuna
Ah what a fight if we managed to hook one
The men would soon become restless and we would once again be under way
Heading north into the teeth of a storm
And pushing her as hard as we could
The work seemed to keep the men hard and clean
And gave them a reason to live
Tales to tell when we reached port
But we never did
We would take what we needed from the sea
And drink rainwater to quench our thirst
And if the rations became low we would pirate what was needed
Nothing like a good fight to get the juices flowing and feel alive again
The wolf of the north was always at our call
Port of duty: anywhere but here
Waiting silently by the phone was all he had.
Grasping the bottle he drank greedily.
The waiting was all he had at the moment.
He roared,"arrrrrgh!"And the sound comforted him.
He dialed his son to wish him Happy Holiday.
The son had no father but he waited too.
Like a cast away he scanned the bottle searching for a note.
The two went back to the waiting and it helped.
It was something to do to kill time and it was honest.
The sea was deep and danger waited there too.
So all three gathered together in silence.
The father sent memories on the ferry to the son.
"Arrrrrgh," helped and it comforted the man.
He was in the navy so he loved the sea and the sea returned it.
The father watched and scanned the waves with hope.
And the gulls screaming words that only gulls understand.
What will become of me after the message is delivered?
Will I ever cross and grasping the bottle.
I loved you and The Sea.
Relaxing sea ride with skies of blue.
Gentle waves rock our bodies like a porch swing.
Family laughing and soaking up the sunshine.
Further along waters start to get choppy
Waves grow bigger than a garden wall
Green emerald waters broke our bow
This nearly ended a land lubbin crew
Straight to the bottom the pontoons did dive
I heard a shrill scream of terror escape
When my ankles submerged to a watery doom
I ran to the stern to get more height
Drowning was not the goal nor our plight
The pontoons began to arise like a bubble but
Our motor stalled from the severe incline.
I know now fuel don't run straight up at a ninety degree turn
We had to be at the mercy of the sea while our engine
Decided whether to trust us or not
After several harrowing moments the engine reved
We made our escape from natures deathly fury.
Partys for couples new lovers and just friends.
Music to fill the night the streets of New york
breath life to old flames keeping even jaded souls warm.
The lonley gather round the TV.
sharing a glimpse at something we all yern to have.
And from the up high the streets seem magic tonight.
the soudtrack of the night will echo
into are hungover minds with a painful yet happy reminder
of last nights celebration.
Late night lovers will smile and go there awkward ways.
So many acts in so many different plays.
creeping back to are corners in lastnights suit and tie.
Tight little black dress kiss worn lips
acting happier than two kids ragged in need of a shave
you with hair in a mess.
And for friends that gather to relive not so real
The pages are left to the writter.
To add to lastnights not so original story.
As the barflys gather to battle another unsober day.
I watch this first new day anew.
Take a sip from my flask and thank the lord
for one more year with you.
And tonight I say to you all raise that glass.
kiss that stranger you know so well.
Laugh love and live.
And thank whomever ya choose weve made it through another
year to tell.
Some days are diamonds
Some days are pure do-do
Today was a totally do-do day
I'm sure everyone has them every once in awhile
But mine are a lot more frequent than they once were
Is it my age that makes the difference
Or is it my retirement
Throughout my life, I have always been
A very, very active person
So to all of a sudden be without a goal
I'm lost in a sea of nothingness
The only activity my brain gets
Is poetry and that's not enough to sustain me
I need a challenge every day
I have one of those brains that constantly
Needs nourishing, to be challenged or it will die
I wish it weren't true
And I could just lie back in my easy chair
And watch the world go by
BUT... that's just not me!
© Jack Ellison 2014
Many Christmas stories are told every year,
and many songs are sung with pure cheer;
do I have a good story, at least one, I can tell,
or a simple song I can hum and spread good will?
When Lisa's grandmother passed away unexpectedly...
by her dying bed she kept an ivory music box,
and to her lovely granddaughter she gave it
to saying," Take care of it, and smile when you think of me!"
The day after granny died, she went down the dark cellar
to hide the ivory music box in an old dresser's drawer,
and once in a while she would open it and play it and listen to it sadly;
the pretty angel swirled...and Silent Night played as Lisa touched it tenderly.
It was almost Christmas Day and the pine tree wasn't decorated yet,
she rushed outside carrying a red basket with ornaments in it;
how could she had forgotten to adorn it with bulbs and garlands?
" Oh gosh, I feel like the Grinch!" she displeasingly uttered to herself.
There was no snow predicted for that evening and the illuminated town
was lacking Nature's magical snowflakes to make it festive and vibrant;
five minutes to midnight the choir from the nearest church gathered outside,
and waited for a miracle...silence...tranquility...every heart felt so alone.
But Lisa with an indomitable spirit ordered them to sing,
and they began singing looking up the clearest, starriest sky;
everyone seemed sad and some of them wanted to cry,
but before sadness set in...snowflakes began falling.
Lisa knew that it was the miracle she had been waiting for,
but something was missing from the snowy scenery...
she remembered her ivory music box she had put away,
and running, with awe in her bright eyes, she opened the cellar's door...
Clutched in her caring, careful hands, she carried the ivory music box,
laid it gently underneath the twinkling, scented Christmas Tree;
Lisa kissed it tenderly...until the golden angel started to swirl at midnight,
as that divine music filled the nippy air...making all cheeks so peachy.
Copyright 2009 by Andrew Crisci
It was a warm summer night
In a glowing neon dream
When I walked under palms
By the ultra-violet sea
Where Soft light rained down
Gently spread upon the beach
Hazy sky and oceans blurred
Aqua, orange, purples, pink
In the atmospheric twilight
I strolled the endless avenue
Mixing with the bar lights
Entranced by the sea view
Reflecting on the waters
Were flickering yellow strokes
Where freight ships turned to fairylights
Like a painting on the Rhone
Along the lamplit concourse
Ambient and watercolour washed
A stream of strollers poured
Soaking up the dusk
And With the flow of a ghostly breeze
I brushed by lovers and loners
Slender exotic joggers
And the Sunset bathing homeless
To this day it burns inside
My first night in Limassol
She left colours in my eyes
T'was the month of July
should've been sailing upon calm sea,
blue sky so clear.
For days and days, it rained and rained
As if the sky's afallin' away,
Bounced wildly about on wall like waves
T'was death we came to face.
Tied ourselves with ropes around our waist
To not to sea be blown and swallowed away
The only thing for us all to do, was pray
Then mates and the capt'n their voices did raise.
Began singing aloud sailor's songs of old
Drowning out their dread in the sea's assault
Sudden shower of sunbeams began to pour right out
Of the opening heavens by gushes of wind, parting clouds.
Hope returned about the crew
They knew the sea would be subdued
Looking through his spyglass out to sea
The capt'n saw our destination appear.
Copyright © 05.16.11
While walking down the beach in solitude i noticed an uprising in the ocean in a distance
Not paying much attention i went back to waching the sand for shells when a wisp of wind
caught my hair and forced me to move my head.
Above the water was dancing angels spinning constantly in a circle.
Laughing and giggling as they continued to twirl.
Not knowing the event that was taking place I began to shake my head.
I looked up in the sky and back down again and then they were all walking beside me.
Oh what could this be?, all of these angels walking with me.
Is it a dream or something with in my imagination?.
I shook my head again and what did i see, Jesus was standing right in front of me.
How much do I owe for such an honor.
Jesus said"nothing your fine".
I said "I am?"
Jesus replied" I am so thankful that you cared enough to save all those angels whom was
lost at sea, for now they can fianelly come home with me.
I am walking down the beach
Asking the sea what does it want to say to me
While I am watching these presents of celestial beauty
It seems to me that a pale blue sky
With vast white clouds holds something of my own in it
But tide is bringing waste back on the sand
I am imagining that the sea is boiling and bleeding
And I see man`s misery and
Can`t condone his wickedness
My dream of finding peace in nature is shattered
Being beside the sea is impossible
Musing is unbearable
The mirror is broken
One night and one
one place in a crowd
too many flowers
no room for a frown
places are higher
the World and the news
people and places
a distance for spaces
a planet with wastelands
a future with grape lands
cloudy with rooms
more flowers and brooms
jewels and the bunnies
bracelets for no money
a panther and the day light
a creature and the new sights
blue wars that go around the moon
makes prettier roses
and more waters bloom
I flounder alone
in the sea of dismay
floating on swells that lift my being
but not my soul
though walls of water that have no doors
my ship of dreams
slowly sinks under the blanket of evening
I sleep yet am awake
fingers of a vile wind
tear its silken sails
and send ribbons
across a dark sea like frenzied seagulls
through the long night
away from the nightmare
I float into a golden ocean
where red hibiscus fall from azure skies
and gentle hands of Posiden
pull me onto white sands
where Apollo shines eternally
in this forgotten jewel of the Pacific
"The music in my heart is from the tolling of the bell"
I drove in silence, watching the road closely as it coiled along the rocky coastline, occasionally flipping on the wipers to remove the sea mist that gathered on my windshield. How long had it been, I mused, since the last time I was here. More years then I liked to think I’m afraid. Yet still, the closer I came to the village that was my childhood home, the more a sense of belonging reawakened.
I entered the village, passing the old high school and several of the shops on Main St, most with new names and new owners while others sat dark and vacant. I couldn’t help but feel a little sad. This town was the soul of my childhood and I guess I had never expected it to forsake my memories. It would somehow remain frozen in time, waiting for my return to begin anew.
I searched for the familiar as I neared the old port, only to be greeted by a today I had not anticipated. I was home and my home was no longer there. Then I heard the bell. The mellow chime called to me, like the voice of an old friend. I drove with haste until arriving at the little Chapel by the Sea.
I stared as if seeing it for the first time, savoring the weather beaten wood and frosted windowpanes. The sturdy steeple urging me to enter. As I stepped into the dim, cool interior, it was as if I never left. I was that kid again with shined shoes and slicked down hair that came here every week to profess my faith.
The silence was overwhelming as I slid into a pew, letting the nostalgia of the moment wash over me. I had found my anchor. For all my absence, it had waited for my return and, wrapping me securely in its embrace, seemed to say "welcome back, I've missed you.
September 24, 2011
Written for “The Church by the Ocean” contest
My father gone these forty years,
my mother gone twenty, I remember...
the acrid smell of tobacco
on my mother’s rough fingers,
as she sat, silently,
in a predawn Texas coastal town,
my head in her lap, the short-wave
radio crackling with static.
She strained to hear the chatter of
shrimpers in the Gulf of Mexico,
yelling out to each other
in Cajun French,
Mexican Spanish, accented English;
she stroked my nine-year-old hair,
her middle-aged body aching,
hungry, worried, sleepless.
Far from her roots, stranded
in this strange, dry,
totally foreign place,
her imaginings of my father’s
struggles with the sea and its weathers
filled her mind, and she knew,
all the while, that even if he were safe,
earning money, there would be only
a temporary respite from suffering
the poverty of the hopeless and desperate doomed
whose minor, occasional comforts
were only, onshore, the cold beers
and noisy camaraderie of the others
like him, like her,
As I walked near the sea one day
out of a summer sky
came three sailing ships
with billowed sails
so silently on high they floated in the
quietness of that June afternoon
not a sound did they make
as onto a gentle bed of ocean
they did alight
greeting the white caps
that danced in their presence as a
trembling blue sea wrapped its arms
around their heaving hulls that sailed off
into a western sky - listing gently, they sighed
on a watery voyage towards a unknown horizon
and cupping my hands
to my brow I watched as they became
specks in the distance
engulfed by a fiery sunset
of a disappearing day..