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Poetry content is the work and copyright of Michael Walsh. It is hoped that those who find my poetry to their taste will purchase the online anthology of nearly 100 poems, Diamonds Last Forever.

27 November 2012 @ 21:37

Soft tread of heel upon the deck;
And breeze as cold as dawn.
On lookout watch the time goes slow;
For sweetheart he shall mourn.
The watchman treads the lonely deck,
His pace will dance to rhyme -
With masts and spars that roll and pitch;
When bound for tropic clime.
Oh, Lord! The night is long, so long;
The lonely watch that keeps;
The night parade while stars cascade,
And shipmates restless sleep.
Tonight there's no horizon,
Where the dark sea meets the sky.
I wish that land was close to hand,
To hear the seagull's cry.
To watch from ocean twilight:
Till the breaking of the dawn,
While dolphin trails and pods of whales;
Keep company till the morn’
Forked lightning flashed above me and it lit a fearful sight;
Of crashing waves and washing decks and torn sails put to flight.
And through the crashing thunder - designed to scare I'm sure;
I screamed back my defiance; I even called for more.
For this was I and Nature; in combat we were locked.
I raised my arm up to the sky: "Give me more!" I mocked.
Again the lightning fizzled and came straight to my heart.
I begged the storm to give its all and now it played its part.
Excitement grew inside me, though mortal I am free;
And when I saw the stalk of death I would not let it be.
For I would go down fighting; no, my spirit wouldn't break.
All that it could give me, Aye! And more I knew I'd take.
"What's the matter with you?" I screamed back in my rage:
"Is this the best that you can do in this the war you wage?
Unleash your bolts of lightning and let your thunders roar -
And when you've done the worst you can you'll find I'll still want more."
Again the lightning dazzled as I raised my rain-soaked arm:
"Come!" I called contemptuously. "This is but a calm!"
The gods unleashed their fury yet my boat and I were one:
A clutch of wood to others, but to me it was a son.
I fought back burning teardrops to see my ship so torn:
Broken spars and rigging, yet did it look forlorn?
No never, quite impossible; imbued with fight like I:
It fought the waves, the wind and spray and joined me in my cry.
"Let your lightning's crackle and let your thunders roar!"
The wind rose to a fearful shriek and at the rigging tore.
It vented its full fury and all hell did it set free;
I fought the wind and lightning and my boat fought with the sea.
I shook my fist with fury as my shirt tore from my back;
A crested wave engulfed us both, I heard the lightning crack.
Through the mighty heavens the thunder lasted long;
I held on to the sheets and mast and then gave forth with song.
I had never sung that song before, composed I know not where.
I sung of heroes dead and gone, of valiance deed and dare.
And then I had it beaten and its fury was all gone.
The sea had lost its passion and its worst had now been done.
What a sight I must have been as on the thwarts I lay;
Exhausted yet still noble - for man had won the day.
If I had not defeated the raging storm that night;
If I had failed to hold the siege against its raging might -
And death had come to claim me, as yes it might have done;
I would have gone down fighting, and still I would have won.
My spirit is unbroken, for that is mine alone.
The earth can have the rest of me; the flesh, the blood and bone.
I started life as a 16-year old sailor. Britain had a Merchant Navy back in those days. It was a fabulous career; filled with excitement it was opportunity to sea (sic) so many different countries. By the time I was 22 years of age there were few parts of the world I hadn’t visited. It was a dangerous occupation but that was part of the attraction. Isn’t it always for imprudent young men? Michael (Walsh)

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