Ronald Lee Oliver
Our bark pitched and lolled
midst breakers that rolled,
dark as squids ink o’er the gunnels.
Both larboard and lee,
The sky nor the sea could nary agree
which was the charge of t’other.
The toothless Bosenmate, Phigg,
chortled while quaffing a swig
of foul and treacherous grog,
just dipped from the quartermain hog.
He exclaimed with delight,
his eyes sheeny with light
from the St. Elmo’s fire
that danced in the wires above.
“I’ve seen the likes of fjords
‘n dikes and sailed the blue
waters down South…but I’ve never
skimmed through a squall such as
thee’n, nor dodged such devilish spouts!
Tighten yer buckler, ye pewlin’
landlubber, we’re in for a Helluva blow!
Yes, we’re in for a God-awful blow!”
The wind shrod through the lines
that hummed as if tines of some
giant’s mad tuning fork.
When Cap’n yelled out,
“Coming About!” and spun the wheel,
heelin’ the rudder.
It was then that I seen that wall
black and green that made my spine
tingle and shudder.
That wall of sateen, spindrift and sheen,
keen deadly for malice and murder.
Down bore that black curtain that
meant one thing certain.
We were in for a Terrible blow!
Yes, we braced for a punishing blow!
That’s the last that I seen of Phigg
and the Cap’n and two-score other
poor souls. The Bark torn asunder
as the Wave pulled them under
and down to the black deep below.
Why I was spared is a wonder
that I ‘spect I’ll never know.
Rare’s the day I don’t weep
for Forever they’ll keep
in the rivers of deep that flow
in the icy cold brine below…
in the inky dark brine below.