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A Crow's Command

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I be a common salty once, no captain's bars, did bear,
Yet blessed was I to venture where few a skipper dared.

   From steadfast crow's high perch I watched the bright coast beacons wink,
   Through a biting spray's December gale, what goring shoals could sink.

For countless days I rocked atop an oaken spar at length,
As wake and skies conveyed my eyes, Lord Neptune's sullen strength.

   Busy dogs, the mates and jacks, bent hard to tasks below,
   While toward the sky, with glass to eye, my post waved to-and-fro.

First was I to e'er spot land, my voice, the first to yell,
Aye, first to sight the skull and bone and raise the warning bell.

   "Thar she blows!" was oft' my cry, if spied a breach, had I,
   And "Friend or foe?!?" the question barked, if strange sails split the sky.

But the moments that becalmed my soul as swells ticked off my time,
Were star-filled nights, a bullion moon, and the phosphorescent brine.

   The darkest times were battlements, when the ship groaned in its might,
   But never dark, the eventide, sea and sky awash with light!

Quite rare, it was, to find this tar on deck or down below,
And rarer still, did I abdicate my nest there in the crow.

   Well, I'm adrift on shore now, with brittle bones and gray,
   Yet, my lubber's mind still climbs the mast, to man my post and sway.

I bounce wee kin on knobby knees, and tell them swabbie tales.
Of St. Elmo's Fire and scorching skies, of picaroons and whales.

   And when the angels task me to a new and heav'nly crow,
   I'll bend my gaze to the looking glass, and give a hearty "Tally-ho!"




~ 3rd Place ~  in the "Verse A Favoured Form, Any Theme" Poetry Contest, Brian Strand, Judge & Sponsor.

~ 5th Place ~  in the "2019 Poetry Marathon Mile 5" Poetry Contest, Mark Toney, Judge & Sponsor.

~ 2nd Place ~  in the "Favorite Rhyming Poem Ever" Poetry Contest, Laura Loo, Judge & Sponsor.

~ 8th Place ~  in the "Create A Character" Poetry Contest, Cecelia Hopkins-Drewer, Judge & Sponsor.

~ 2nd Place ~  in the "Best Rhyming Poem This Year" Poetry Contest, John Hamilton, Judge & Sponsor.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017




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Date: 11/16/2019 6:48:00 AM
Absolutely exquisitely rendered verses my friend. Coleridge must surely be nodding and smiling if reading this nautical gem. Irate this as top class and a wondrously .marvelous piece. And a fav as well.
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Date: 12/29/2018 11:22:00 AM
Shiver me timbers, Greg! Congrats on your win on mile 5 of my 2019 Poetry Marathon contest. You wouldn't by any chance know where that chest of gold doubloons and pieces of eight are, would ya? I love all of the nautical terms you use. It even took me back to my youth when me and my mates would act out our favorite piratical ramblin's :) Thanks, Greg!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 2/9/2019 8:22:00 PM
Thank you so very much, Mark! I'm so sorry I didn't get around to this thank-you until now, ("officially" anyway) ... this poem is very special to me, as one of my great-grandfathers was Com Edward Preble, who was the first commander of the US Navy, (or what became the Navy), and the USS Constitution was his flag ship, (my mom is a Preble). My Grampa was a seaman as well, along with his brother, my beloved Great Uncle who I adored, (also Prebles). Blessings! :-)
Date: 3/6/2018 9:28:00 PM
‘Star filled nights and bullion moon’ - wonderfully atmospheric and evocative. A soul satisfying read. Thank you Gregory.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/6/2018 9:40:00 PM
My pleasure, Geoffrey, I'm glad you enjoyed it, and thankful for your kind comments ... this one I'm partial to. Blessings! :-)
Date: 3/3/2018 9:55:00 PM
A beautiful poem with fantastic imagery and glorious content, Gregory. Congratulations on your excellent win!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/6/2018 9:36:00 PM
That's very kind of you, Susan, thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed this one - it is very special to me. :-) <3
Date: 3/2/2018 7:59:00 PM
Charming poem. Delightful read. Congrats on your win, Gregory. Well done.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/2/2018 8:21:00 PM
Blessings and thanks so much, Line - so appreciated! :-) <3
Date: 2/28/2018 4:16:00 PM
I love the picture, too! It really ties it all together so nicely (your goal, no doubt). :) Bartholomew
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/2/2018 8:21:00 PM
Yes, it was ... thank you, Sir!
Date: 2/28/2018 4:15:00 PM
Gregory, I love how you combine your love for things nautical and celestial in this absolutely wonderful poem!! Congratulations on your strong placement with this lofty maritime treasure! I salute you, my friend. :) Bartholomew
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/2/2018 8:20:00 PM
That is very kind of you, Bartholomew, and I greatly appreciate the wonderful comments! Blessings, my friend! :-)
Date: 2/28/2018 11:19:00 AM
great rhythm and rhyme dear Gregory, lovely poem with great imagery! thank you and congratulations on your placement :) -luloo
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/2/2018 8:19:00 PM
Thank you so much, Luloo - I'm pleased you enjoyed this one, as it is very special to me, and I am honored by the placement.
Date: 9/16/2017 8:09:00 AM
Come back to the beginning, this is the piece that made me a fan :) Top of the morning to you! xomo
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 9/16/2017 8:24:00 AM
Aww ... thank you SO! This is VERY dear to my heart, Maureen ... I even started writing a sequel a few months ago but never finished ... it was about the ship coming across a woman floating on the wreckage of another ship. Anyone who enjoys this, (and especially those who remember it), are on the top of my list! ;-) <3
Date: 7/12/2017 9:44:00 PM
Greg, what a mesmerizing photo, fabulous and very creative story congratulations on your win ~*
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 7/12/2017 11:42:00 PM
Thanks so much, Eve, that's very sweet of you - I'm so glad you enjoyed this! :-)
Date: 7/12/2017 9:58:00 AM
Congrats, I enjoyed your character.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 7/12/2017 11:41:00 PM
Thank you so kindly, Richard ... I greatly appreciate that!
Date: 7/12/2017 9:23:00 AM
Back for a big congrats on the second win for this classic poem, I personally think this is your 2nd or 3rd best write, and it is so obviously well done. Funny how everyone responds differently to different writes!!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 7/12/2017 11:40:00 PM
Thank you SO very much, John, that means a great deal! I agree that this is one of my best, and it is very special to my heart, not just because it was inspired by family history, or because it has brought me so much visibility, but because it was one of "those" poems, the kind that come to you when you're "in the flow", that just happen without struggle or conflict, and are all joy. This was one of those for me. :-)
Date: 7/12/2017 1:19:00 AM
Back to give you kudos on your wonderful win! : )
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 7/12/2017 11:33:00 PM
Thank you so much, Connie - so appreciative! :-)
Date: 5/10/2017 1:29:00 PM
Hi Greg me again. Seems like you have hit all the right buttons now. Incidently this one is among 100 best of Poetry Soup. Thats big!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 7/7/2017 1:12:00 AM
Thanks, Jannie - I didn''t even know it was on the list for quite a while until I was told, lol. Glad you enjoyed it, my friend! :-)
Date: 5/4/2017 12:40:00 PM
Congratulations Greg, this is so wonderful my friend :)) Absolutely deserved!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 7/7/2017 1:11:00 AM
Thanks so much, Darren - greatly appreciate it!
Date: 4/12/2017 9:24:00 AM
If only we could have jobs like this - apart from the bad weather. Congratulations on your win with this refreshingly different poem Greg! :-)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 5/4/2017 6:15:00 AM
Thank you SO much, Mark - I'm sorry, I just now saw this comment. For some reason I don't get notifications when I get comments, so I don't find them until I go back to that poem. Very kind of you, my friend!
Date: 3/22/2017 2:10:00 AM
Thank you ALl so much for your kind and thoughtful encouragement and praise ... it means a great deal to me, just being named in your grand company! You're all wonderful writers, and I so enjoy this site, thanks to YOU! Much love and respect! - Greg Barden
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Date: 3/16/2017 12:08:00 PM
Greg, congrats on your 2nd place win! I knew this was a winner the first time I read it! Blessings, Kim
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/16/2017 12:15:00 PM
Those are very sweet sentiments, Kim, and they mean a great deal, especially from someone of your literary caliber ... I am humbled by the amazing talent here, and just to be mentioned with you all is such an honor! Blessings, my friend! :-)
Date: 3/16/2017 10:39:00 AM
So wonderful! Congrats,Greg!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/16/2017 12:12:00 PM
Thank you for your very kind words, Kim, as always your sweetness shines through! (I apologize for the wrong comment, and I did NOT do that - this keeps happening, where I post a reply on one person's comment and it ends up on another, and I'm not sure what to do about it - thank you for understanding). :-)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/16/2017 12:09:00 PM
Thank you so much, John - VERY much appreciated!
Date: 3/16/2017 8:31:00 AM
Congrats again Greg for this wonderful write, excellent imagery and rhyme. Great 2nd place win/
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/16/2017 12:10:00 PM
Thank you so much, John - VERY much appreciated!
Date: 3/1/2017 1:37:00 PM
Tremendous tale, skilfully woven and delightfully displayed . Big congrats on POTD. I AM LUCKY YO HAVE FOUND AND READ THIS GEM TODAY. A FAV..A7-I'd give this an eleven if I could.
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/2/2017 6:46:00 PM
Thanks so much, Robert, that means a great deal to me - so happy you enjoyed it!
Date: 3/1/2017 9:17:00 AM
This is a lovely write with deep knowledge of the sea and surroundings, Greg, congratulations on your POTD:)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/2/2017 6:45:00 PM
Very kind words, thank you so kindly, Jo! :)
Date: 3/1/2017 5:28:00 AM
Greg....this was absolutely delightful. You have great a t knowledge of seafaring ships and your poem took us along with you. Congratulations on having it honored as POTD! It is very deserving! By the way...if two people happen to be posting a reply at the same time the message we will jump up, don't worry about it. It happens to all of us. Aloha, Connie ; ) 7
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/1/2017 6:25:00 AM
Thank you so much, Connie, your kind words are so appreciated! And thanks for the assistance ... I am a bit "site-phobic" with new places, lol ... must be my age, ha! ;)
Date: 2/28/2017 10:06:00 PM
Congrats Greg on POTD, you are obviously taking to this site quickly, the soup does have a way of rewarding the most talented writers quickly and you got a number 1 contest win and POTD in the same week. you are a rising star for sure!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/1/2017 1:33:00 AM
Thank you so very kindly, my friend ... once again, just to be here in the midst of all of you and your incomparable talent, is such an honor and blessing for me. With such company and inspiration and encouragement, how can I NOT blossom?? Blessings to you! :)
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/1/2017 12:15:00 AM
Thank you so very kindly, my friend ... once again, just to be here in the midst of all of you and your incomparable talent, is such an honor and blessing for me. With such company and inspiration and encouragement, how can I NOT blossom?? Blessings to you! :)
Date: 2/28/2017 9:40:00 PM
Oh what a wanderlust life well described!
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Gregory R Barden
Date: 3/1/2017 12:12:00 AM
So happy it had a positive and whimsical affect on you - thank you SO kindly! :)
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