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new sea poem

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  • sabakakrazny
    worked up a nautical bit of a poem, and wanted it a bit different so it s from the perspective of a lighthouse keeper. It s set in the 1500 s in Ireland. As
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 11, 2011
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      worked up a nautical bit of a poem, and wanted it a bit different so it's from the perspective of a lighthouse keeper. It's set in the 1500's in Ireland.

      As always, commentary and suggestions are welcomed. I'm working up a batch of stuff for Gulf Wars 20 and Pennsics, so Ill post more here in the next week or so.





      The Sinking of the Carrie-Anne

      Twas in the dark of the night and the cold candlelight
      While the storm raged out on the lee
      And my bonny wee wife who shared my life
      Was there on those long nights with me
      For a lighthouseman's nights are marked by the light
      That shines out from the towers tall lens
      And his day is all wrong, from dusk until dawn
      No daylight he sees for his sins.

      A luckier man was never born in this life
      When she went with me across the kirks floor
      For a lighthouseman's life is loneliness and work
      And held slave to the rocky sea shore
      A fine little wife, her hair so red and so fine
      She was a wee thing and so small of hand
      And we worked that light together each night -
      Till the stormy night of the doomed Carrie - Anne

      So it was on that cold night, the upper light bright
      And we listened while the wind howled and sung
      When over its cry we heard the hard sounds
      The sounds made by the caravels guns
      For the storm took its toll, in sailcloth and men
      A toll that's always paid to the sea
      And the Carrie-Anne was foundered, pressed on the shoals
      Aground on the point of the lee

      Her bowsprit held high, pointed to the heavens
      Hard on the rocks her keel had been dashed,
      Broken in two and her deck was awash
      Her foremast was gone, her mizzen was smashed.
      Twenty brave souls were aboard her then
      Three more had been washed out to sea
      As they sounded the guns and made for their boats
      Their lives fell to Mary and me

      She ran up the tower and sounded the bell
      So the sailormen would know that we heard.
      And I got out the oilskins, the ropes and the corks
      And we went into the storm with never a word.
      We threw on our oilskins and slung on our ropes,
      Grapnels and lanterns held high
      And we crossed that beach out onto the rocks
      While the wind made our cloaks fly.

      We knew the shore well, in fair weather or foul
      We walked it nigh at least twice a day
      And from below the lighthouse and against the west side
      Was the dingy docked at the quay.
      Into the boat we leapt, tackle and all
      We oared hard against the seas grasp.
      As the caravel groaned and the cruel waves pounded
      The Carrie-Anne was going down fast

      I worked at the oars with Mary in the bow
      And the Carrie-Anne's longboat was away
      But on a masthead clung, being swept out to sea
      Were three men soon for a watery grave.
      Now don't let lubbers fool you, for they don't know
      What all keepers and sailormen ken -
      That the sea is a beauty, a mystery to love
      But fickle and hungry for men

      Mary flung her grapnels far and true,
      They flew to the full length of her ropes
      And those sailors all cheered and heaved on it sure
      For she had in flinging returned them their hope.
      But as she cleated the ropes the seas swelled hard
      The ropes parted from out the men's grasp
      And I bore hard on my oars to pull nearer still
      As the grapnels pulled loose from the mast.

      She kissed me then, all salty and wet,
      Her eyes alight though her face was set firm.
      "I love you, dear" was all that she said
      And she stepped past me and jumped over the stern.
      She swam hard as she could, like a fish in a pond
      As if the waves weren't dashing and growling
      And taking that rope she swam to the men
      And tied them off with the winds howling.

      She tied them off sure and tight as could be
      And the mast I took into tow
      When suddenly a great wave swelled like a beast
      And came down and dealt a cruel blow.
      It pushed us ashore, the dinghy capsized on the rocks
      And as I beached I pulled the mast in
      But when the waves washed it up on the shore
      Twas naught but mast and men.

      Rough handled they'd been, half drowned to a man
      But they went with me as we tried not to tarry
      But we all knew, as sailormen must
      That the sea had taken my Mary.
      We searched that beach when the longboat was ashore
      For three days after the storm had expired
      The town's fishermen for days went out in their boats
      But eventually the search was retired.

      Ne'er again did I see my bonny wee lass
      Or feel the soft touch of her hand
      For the sea took her as price for those men
      That sailed on the poor Carrie-Anne.
      Of that ship is naught but the barrels
      Or driftwood that comes ashore with the tide
      And like the saltwater that laps these shores
      Are the many lonely tears I have cried.

      We raised a small stone, years ago on the point
      So long ago it seems like a dream.
      And the sailormen one and all of that ill-fated ship
      Raised a cross there from one of its beams
      Inscribed on that cross, faded by weather,
      Carved deep in the wood with their hands
      Are the words: "Mary O'Hanlon, always remembered-
      The Captain and Crew of Carrie-Anne"

      Once a year, for many long years they all still come –
      Now often bringing their children and wives
      To put out flowers or wreaths that wash out to sea
      And give thanks to Mary for saving their lives
      But grey haired I sit, after all of these years,
      I sit, smoke my pipe and stare at the sea
      And I stay here manning the lighthouse still
      Alone on the point of the lee

      The lighthouse is silent; it seems cold as a grave
      The sea is colder now; the nights are all grim
      And tomorrow they will be coming again
      And together at the cross, the grass there we'll trim.
      And we'll all look out to sea, as the flowers wash out
      And remember Mary as we all hold our hands
      As the sailors children sing hymns, to remember that night
      The night the storm sank the Carrie- Anne.

      I remember my Mary, the only wife I will have
      Who I remember as I walk the beach at high tide
      Because there will yet come I pray God the day
      When I will again stand by my bonny wife's side.
      And always I think on that simple cold fact –
      What all keepers and sailormen ken -
      That the sea is a beauty, a mystery to love,
      But fickle and hungry for men.


      Bran Buchanan
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