The Sailor’s Tale: Chapter One — A Storm

A storm.
The single ship was charged
by waves from every side.
The wood showed cracks and splits,
made weak by raging tide.
The wind turns to a gale,
the waves grew ever high,
and then to join the fight
came forces of the sky.

The clouds were white with light
and fire that crackled to
and fro, ‘til blood would boil
on touch when down it danced
to speak with those below.
Past wind-swept, snow-capped peaks
it dove to strike the mast,
which, lit with golden flames,
was dragged into the sea.
The lightning’s words were filled
with hate and hurt that skin
would burn for hear­ing. Yelled
the Cap­tain, “Stay firm! The worst
is surely through!
We’ll come to land as one,
our ship together, crew
all well, if not may I
be struck from where I stand,
for lies do fill my breath!”
The words left his broad chest
with his last breath. A wave,
the largest any man
aboard had seen, rose up
above the ship, and then,
as speech con­cluded, crashed
upon the deck. The man,
though strong and firm of foot,
was washed to sea, and dashed
again, again, again
against the ship. His brains
and blood and bones were left
to mix in salty sea.

The men wailed aloud
sure now that death was all
that waited in the storm.
They dropped their oars upon
the deck and threw them­selves
against the wood and sent
their pray­ers into the air,
where no-one listened, no–
one cared. The wails left
their blood­ied lips, to drown
in brassy thun­der claps.
One sailor cried “Where’s God
to help us now? Has He
turned blindly from our plight
or does the storm block out
our pray­ers and leave us cut
from Him tonight?”

At which, a single wave
came rolling from behind.
It towered up above
the ship, a jug­ger­naut
approach­ing slowly but
inev­it­ably with
a crown of light­ning ‘round
its top and froths of foam
that rained from it until
when years seemed to have passed
it fell upon the crew.

The ship was battered, broken, shattered
Her crew were dead, drowned, scattered
And all that was left was one man
rid­ing a splinter of its frame
out of the storm that remained.

 

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