Odyssey from Africa - Stargazing 1

King Ptolemy the Second (cont.)

Sleek of line for speedy sailing 
It was rugged in construction 
Several layers of well cured timber
Lined the hull and bridge and gunwales 
 
There were four great masts with mainsails
Han surveyed its scale and features 
And was overwhelmed with wonder  
At such masterful shipbuilding 

As the king now hailed the vessel 
“Here she is, the ship Australis,
Carrier of our adventure 
To explore and seek the Southland”
 
Han replied thus to the monarch,
“This is surely the most awesome 
Ship that ever was constructed!
And that brings me to my question
 
“How can I assist this project? 
What on earth can I contribute?
For this craftsmanship is greater 
Far than my own humble boat craft”
 
And King Ptolemy then answered 
“There is one thing you can bring us,
Since you are a foremost master
In the making of the small boat

“Nimble yet with strong construction 
Crafted from a life’s experience 
Fishing on the open ocean
Riding waves and tides and tempests
 
“For my ship will need some lifeboats
We must guard against disaster 
If our craft should break and founder
In the lifeboats can be safety”
 
Han thus learned of his employment 
And forthwith began the project 
That would last two moons’ duration 
Making lifeboats with the shipwright


Stargazing 
 
Work however yet awaited
The respite of night and morning
Now was time for evening dinner 
And the king now led them forward 
 
Up the gangplank to the vessel 
And they boarded the Australis
Took their places round a table 
That was waiting on the main deck
 
Here they dined in royal fashion 
Waited on by palace servants
In the seaside evening coolness. 
Then appeared upon the foredeck 
 
Artists bringing entertainment 
Singers, dancers and musicians 
Playing strings and pipes and tom-toms
And the merriment continued 

Long into the tranquil evening 
As the stars rose in a clear sky
Han and Kwona and the children
Were enchanted by the music
 
Kwona had to stop her husband
Staring spellbound at the dancers
Then the king called Han aside and
They together left the vessel
 
Both men climbed aboard a chariot 
Pulled along by dogs at harness
And they travelled with their escort 
From the port of Cannabarro

By an uphill winding road
Until they reached a grassy hilltop
Where a solitary building 
Sat atop the rounded summit
 
They were ushered through the doorway 
By a group of royal scholars 
Who were busy still at nighttime 
In the king’s observatory

Copyright © | Year Posted 2018




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