CLIPPER SHIP

Posted by Admin on Wednesday, 26th July 2006, 00:00

Setting a record she cleaves the rough water,
tempting the Fates with a full suit of sails;
hard by the helm stands her ‘make or break’ skipper,
one whom sheer pride and not prizes impels,
who, to a nicety, knows what she’ll take,
decades a Master with never a grounding,
in courage a Nelson, in daring a Drake;
listens while waves give his vessel a pounding.
Lord, how she lists till the lee rail goes under,
and how shakes and shudders as seas give her check –
crash on the deck like Gargantuan thunder,
causing some trepidation ere she comes erect.
Clinging to rigging the crew fear disaster,
cursing the man in whose hands their fate rests,
thinking the captain is going to dismast her,
damning with vigour the old seadog’s zest.
At the last minute he takes in the ‘stunsails,
reefs the t’gallants, the royals too clews,
discarding as myth equinoxial gales,
guided by instinct the storm force reviews.
Thanks to the rock elm and the teak in her structure,
oaken her keelson, she’s sound as a bell,
well-designed hull to stop her capsizing,
pride of Clyde craftsmen all trained to build well.
Judging she’ll do if things do not worsen,
he leaves the command in the hands of the Mate,
his junior in years but a qualified person,
saying “By eight bells the wind will abate.”
Snug in his cabin, he takes up his Bible,
randomly opened it clinches his view,
Psalm one-o-seven lies clearly before him,
eight verses showing his prognosis true.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.
This work may not be reproduced without prior permission of the author.

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