Tell Me A Tale

Tell me a tale of the sea, good sir
my body is sore from the journey here
you see, I left my home far away, free
and set out upon my way by sea

Never looked back, did I
just carried my things in this pack, did I
a notebook, a pen, a blanket, a tin
some gruel, a hat, and a pole with to fish

I fear the map was lost in the ocean
my captain swore in all the commotion
he knew the way, but the way he lost
and into the storms we were tossed

Three weeks or maybe ’twas more
one cannot ever truly be sure
as we lost track of the dizzying stars
and the moon was black in the dark

Wind howled as if calling its pack
often I’d resign to howling back
when clocks would stop working
one’s mind would stop working

So ‘till morning came on fateful voyage
many a whale ventured into our visage
rained on our deck with their mighty blow
pounded their blubber upon our bow

Prayers we did utter in humble plea
to save us from our catastrophe
and each narrow escape did we sigh
a heavy heave of missing death’s cry

What mercy bestowed upon me to be
able to share what brings me to thee
for to sit in hard battle-charred chair
relate you my story with greatest care

I’d surely not have breath to speak
you’d surely not be pouring me beer
and I’d surely not be able to ask
for your sea-story to calm this
near-ghost of a lass

 

~ Emily C.

3.25.17

Lightless

bellingshausen-iceberg_83_600x450

He stood at the edge, nothing but vast icebergs 

expanding into an endless flat horizon

an arctic desert in the cold tundra plains, 

suspended above the waterworld inhabited 

by creatures that live lightless

translucent tenants of the deep sea

frilled sharks, lantern fish, vampire squid

thousands of feet down below his

he skates across, lost and found

found and lost, where sky becomes ice

and ice becomes sky, this or that end up

an explorer of the soul — he calls for her

echoing her name across glacial canyons

that avalanche thundering truths down

into the frigid depths of his atrophied heart

scarred by the pain of her loss …oh god, her loss

her forever ago, her never here anymore

he wanders lightless like below

and down below, he goes

~ Emily C.

3.9.17

Destination


5b8bd51457c1a557e437d94dab597f6a

Six men set out on Seattle’s salty sea air
F/V Destination sailing to Alaskan waters fierce
where in the Bering Sea, their job of crab fishing
the most deadly waters, most deadly career

Another adventure they sought, they knew the risks
they left their loved ones back at home with an extra kiss
families that always counted each moment a fleeting gift
never guaranteed to see their men back in their arms again 

Eight foot seas, snowing, below freezing ocean, frigid cold
no mayday call, no chance to escape, no hope of rescue
debris, remnants, and a beacon floating far from home
their ship swallowed by unforgiving nature, now high seas tomb

Their bodies, claimed, their souls committed in deep blue below
forever now a part of the world they loved, the calling they sought
another story of the sea callously consuming the brave
the human condition, strong…but ultimately no match,

frail in the face of a wicked storm’s rage.

~ Em C.

2.15.17

*****

Dedicated to the 6 lives lost on the F/V Destination this week, a Seattle-based fishing vessel whose home port is the Fisherman’s Terminal, a place I visit frequently for fish and chips, and to walk the docks reading boat names and marveling at the shipping vessels. They bring back the best seafood from this area, and from Alaska and often times they pay the ultimate price. There is a large wall at the terminal where names are inscribed on plaques of those who have paid the price for their passion for the sea.

May they rest in peace and may the families find comfort in their memories.

Lanterns

lanterns lit the sand washed wood
of the dock by the shifting shore

at twilight the fireflies lit messages
speckled spacetime in twinkling lore

from where I was I saw you
walking with your demons arm in arm

to the conversation I was not privy
seems the waves the audience more

as they kissed your dragging feet
the demons and the waves, both

I sipped my sun tea sweet
pondered to stay or to go

while moon rose o’er tempered sea
I let time determine our destiny

your hair blended into the horizon
and I could not ascertain

whether this longing heart was broken

or rather longing for the sea instead

~ EC

Sea Spray

the wind blew rain on the dining room windows
like sea spray, this house rocking in the surf
half-lit flicker of a lamp crackles on the table
columns of wax wait for matches to flirt

quill in the ink well stalls for more time
wandering ponderings keep knocking
inside the captain’s waterlogged mind
searching on the map for x-marks-the-spot

no stars for navigation, blackened parchment sky
no rod for divination, the metal tip takes its sip
the bow lifts and paper soaks in salty brine
the wayfarer rocked seasick, eyes raining drips

quicksand waves offer no ghosts from the locker
only sucking in the next victim for its volume
read by legions of travelers ahead to follow
words scrawled on canvas for stargazing crews

~ EC

1.18.17