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Old 02-12-2012, 16:33   #1
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Nautical Poetry

Not much tops "The Wreck of the Hesperus" for presenting the risk of Norman's Woe when the sailor is trying to tack across a nor'easter when entering Gloucester Harbor, but there's more out there. I'm looking for more poetry or prose that presents the challenges of the sailor. What is a favorite of yours?
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Old 05-12-2012, 18:13   #2
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Re: Nautical Poetry

On an ancient wall in China
a brooding Budda blinks
graven is the message
"'it's later than you think"

The hands of time are wound just once
and no man has the power
to tell just when the hands will stop
at late or early hour

now is all the time you have
the past a golden link
go cruising now my brother
it's later than you think
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Old 05-12-2012, 19:05   #3
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Re: Nautical Poetry

"Sir Patrick Spens", on the importance of waiting for a good weather window.

"The Wreck of the Deutschland", mostly about nuns, but it has this:

"She drove in the dark to leeward,
She struck - not a reef or a rock
But the combs of a smother of sand: night drew her
Dead to the Kentish Knock."

Tennyson's "Ulysses", mostly about him, but it has this:

"The lights begin to twinkle from the rocks,
The long day wanes, the slow moon climbs, the deep
Moans round with many voices..."

Ulysses own description of his last voyage in Canto XXVI of the "Inferno".

Conrad's "Typhoon"
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:40   #4
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Re: Nautical Poetry

"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" always gets me in the mood.
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:44   #5
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Re: Nautical Poetry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cormorant View Post
"The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" always gets me in the mood.
I know what you mean:

"Her lips were red, her looks were free, her locks were yellow as gold;
Her skin was white as...." -- but we're talking about sailing here, right?

Besides, these short passionate affairs never end well.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:18   #6
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Re: Nautical Poetry

A Ship, An Isle, A sickle Moon by Elroy J Flecker, Christmas at Sea by R L Stevenson and Cargoes By Masefield.
I don't know why but the last stanza of "Cargoes" always reminds me of Boatman 61 (no insult intended).
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:30   #7
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Re: Nautical Poetry

Best of the Best
Especially for the working watermen and sailors. Enjoy it as I have
since my youth

The Seafarer
BY EZRA POUND

May I for my own self song's truth reckon,
Journey's jargon, how I in harsh days
Hardship endured oft.
Bitter breast-cares have I abided,
Known on my keel many a care's hold,
And dire sea-surge, and there I oft spent
Narrow nightwatch nigh the ship's head
While she tossed close to cliffs. Coldly afflicted,
My feet were by frost benumbed.
Chill its chains are; chafing sighs
Hew my heart round and hunger begot
Mere-weary mood. Lest man know not
That he on dry land loveliest liveth,
List how I, care-wretched, on ice-cold sea,
Weathered the winter, wretched outcast
Deprived of my kinsmen;
Hung with hard ice-flakes, where hail-scur flew,
There I heard naught save the harsh sea
And ice-cold wave, at whiles the swan cries,
Did for my games the gannet's clamour,
Sea-fowls, loudness was for me laughter,
The mews' singing all my mead-drink.
Storms, on the stone-cliffs beaten, fell on the stern
In icy feathers; full oft the eagle screamed
With spray on his pinion.
Not any protector
May make merry man faring needy.
This he little believes, who aye in winsome life
Abides 'mid burghers some heavy business,
Wealthy and wine-flushed, how I weary oft
Must bide above brine.
Neareth nightshade, snoweth from north,
Frost froze the land, hail fell on earth then
Corn of the coldest. Nathless there knocketh now
The heart's thought that I on high streams
The salt-wavy tumult traverse alone.
Moaneth alway my mind's lust
That I fare forth, that I afar hence
Seek out a foreign fastness.
For this there's no mood-lofty man over earth's midst,
Not though he be given his good, but will have in his youth greed;
Nor his deed to the daring, nor his king to the faithful
But shall have his sorrow for sea-fare
Whatever his lord will.
He hath not heart for harping, nor in ring-having
Nor winsomeness to wife, nor world's delight
Nor any whit else save the wave's slash,
Yet longing comes upon him to fare forth on the water.
Bosque taketh blossom, cometh beauty of berries,
Fields to fairness, land fares brisker,
All this admonisheth man eager of mood,
The heart turns to travel so that he then thinks
On flood-ways to be far departing.
Cuckoo calleth with gloomy crying,
He singeth summerward, bodeth sorrow,
The bitter heart's blood. Burgher knows not —
He the prosperous man — what some perform
Where wandering them widest draweth.
So that but now my heart burst from my breast-lock,
My mood 'mid the mere-flood,
Over the whale's acre, would wander wide.
On earth's shelter cometh oft to me,
Eager and ready, the crying lone-flyer,
Whets for the whale-path the heart irresistibly,
O'er tracks of ocean; seeing that anyhow
My lord deems to me this dead life
On loan and on land, I believe not
That any earth-weal eternal standeth
Save there be somewhat calamitous
That, ere a man's tide go, turn it to twain.
Disease or oldness or sword-hate
Beats out the breath from doom-gripped body.
And for this, every earl whatever, for those speaking after —
Laud of the living, boasteth some last word,
That he will work ere he pass onward,
Frame on the fair earth 'gainst foes his malice,
Daring ado, ...
So that all men shall honour him after
And his laud beyond them remain 'mid the English,
Aye, for ever, a lasting life's-blast,
Delight mid the doughty.
Days little durable,
And all arrogance of earthen riches,
There come now no kings nor Cæsars
Nor gold-giving lords like those gone.
Howe'er in mirth most magnified,
Whoe'er lived in life most lordliest,
Drear all this excellence, delights undurable!
Waneth the watch, but the world holdeth.
Tomb hideth trouble. The blade is layed low.
Earthly glory ageth and seareth.
No man at all going the earth's gait,
But age fares against him, his face paleth,
Grey-haired he groaneth, knows gone companions,
Lordly men are to earth o'ergiven,
Nor may he then the flesh-cover, whose life ceaseth,
Nor eat the sweet nor feel the sorry,
Nor stir hand nor think in mid heart,
And though he strew the grave with gold,
His born brothers, their buried bodies
Be an unlikely treasure hoard.
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:45   #8
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Re: Nautical Poetry

"There floats the body of Thomas O'Day
Who Died maintaining his Right 'o Way
He was Right, Dead Right, as he sailed along
But He's Just as Dead as if he'd been Wrong"


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Old 10-12-2012, 19:00   #9
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Re: Nautical Poetry

This evening I was looking for a notebook to put some papers in and I found a poem a friend of mine wrote almost ten years ago. It was about my sailing dream. I thought you, my forum friends would like to read it, also. .. There appears to be no poetry section so, here it is.

The Journey
To each is upon us - - -
The call of the wild out of the deep blues, our love of voyage springs forth, awakening out sense, exciting out instincts.
Stimulating our curiosity we watch, observe and search, eyes wide, we listen, open ears and hearts as we ponder the possibilities below.
We shiver with thoughts of the mystery and unknown, of the big blue, and of creatures the waters have bestowed upon us.
In the distance, a lighthouse shines constant and bright, sounding out, we hear it call out to us, it is our guide.
This is our journey.
Jill Wiltzius – 2003
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Old 10-12-2012, 20:08   #10
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Here's one that I found a long time ago.

I Must Go Down to the Sea

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

- John Masefield
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Old 11-12-2012, 06:56   #11
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Re: Nautical Poetry

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tar34 View Post
Best of the Best
Especially for the working watermen and sailors. Enjoy it as I have
since my youth

The Seafarer
BY EZRA POUND
That is wonderful. Thank you.
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Old 11-12-2012, 07:21   #12
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Re: Nautical Poetry

The Inchcape Rock.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:12   #13
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Re: Nautical Poetry

"Sail On" --Trower and Dewar


Moonlight
and the night is still
Before the dawn;
The wind cries
and it's time for you
to be moving on;
Some day
you will make your way
down to the shore;
High tide
and the sailor longs
for the sea once more;

Sail on, down the days, time and tide stand still;
Sail on, sail away,
Following the wind...

Sail on, down the days, time and tide stand still;
Sail on, sail away,
Following the wind...
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:56   #14
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Re: Nautical Poetry

Exultation is the Going… Emily Dickenson

Exultation is the Going
Of an inland soul to sea
Past the houses—past the headlands—
Into deep Eternity.

Bred as we, among the mountains,
Can the sailor understand
The divine intoxication
Of the first league out from land?
1890

One of my favorite books on board is The Oxford Book of the Sea:

BARNES & NOBLE | The Oxford Book of the Sea by Jonathan Raban | Paperback, Hardcover
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:27   #15
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Re: Nautical Poetry

What The Old Man Said

"Don't you take no sail off 'er"
The Ol' Man said
Wind and sea rampagin'
Fit to wake the dead -

Thrashin' through the Forties
In the sleet and 'ail
Runnin' down the Eastin'
Under all plain sail

"She's loggin' seventeen
An' she's liftin' to it grand
So I'm goin' down below
For a stretch off the land"

"And if it gets any worse, Mister
You can come and call me
But - Don't you take no sail off 'er"
Said the Ol' Man
Said 'e!

Them was the days, sonnies
Them was the men
Them was the ships
As we'll never see again

Oh but it was somethin'
Then to be alive -
Thrashin' under royals
South o' Forty-five

When it was - "Don't you take no sail off 'er"
The Old Man'd say
Beard and whiskers starin'
Stiff with frozen spray

"She's loggin' seventeen
And she's liftin' to it grand
And I mean to keep her goin'
Under all she'll stand"

"And if it gets any worse, Mister
You can send and call me
But don't you take no sail off 'er"
Said the Old Man
Said 'e!


Cicely Fox Smith
1924
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