The Captain

By

The Captain

On a hot summer’s day, when I were just a lad
I was a small little boy, running along, wanting to help me Dad.
I would scrub the planks and make them shine
So he could relax, sit back and enjoy his time.
It didn’t bother me, no I didn’t mind
For it was then I would spy on The Captain
Watch him guide the ship through peaceful day
And fearful stormy night.

I lived my youth on the deck
A life at sea was just for me.
Grew accustomed to the way you’d have to stick out your neck!
I would take every joke as I mastered the jib
The crew were crass and would cuss me hard –
They would forget I was just a kid!
Never would I waver, stay true to the calling
For one day, I would be The Captain
Direct the ship whilst sky was falling.

One day as I sat kneeling on the soapy planks
The Captain shook my hand and smiled
Pulled me up from the lowly ranks.
He showed me the ropes, let me take the helm
Said I was a born leader, that I would do well.
The captain talked quickly, much too fast to take note
I listened intently as my belief in myself
Caused my naivety to grow.
How detrimental this would be –
How little did I know.

I would examine all the maps
Learn the routes to what we seek.
Trading frankincense, myrrh and gold
All day, all night – every day of the week.
Spending time discovering new paths
New routes that lay untraveled
My heart was burning – at once we must set sail!

The captain’s eyes were weary, the lust of adventure torn
“Here my boy, take the wheel; it’s yours.”
My hands grew clammy, my heart pounded fast
For my wish had come true –
I had become The Captain at long last!

I felt unprepared, my confidence was low
But I pushed it back, the crew could never know.
Placed my hands on the wheel and gave it a spin
Turned the ship sharply, a new destination we would go.

The routes we traveled were empty
The ports were drunk dry
The crew had become restless
Whispers of mutiny ran high.
One night when the sun sank low
In the light of a candle’s glow
I was picked up and thrown
Placed in a rowboat and told to go.
“To where?” I asked; but no one did know.
“It’s not that bad” they said
“It’s not like you’re dead”
As they lowered me to the icy depths below.

I paddled for months, buffeted by the winds
Drenched by waves and the sun’s glare did sting.
I rowed oh so slowly; for my mind was weak
Illusions I saw, voices I heard speak.
Regained my composure; my body I rebuilt
Time to come back to land, I rowed at full tilt.

I set foot back on land, I returned to build again
A new boat, but this time – no crew
I had to do it all by my own hand
To develop my sense of self; grow a new internal tone.
Eventually the aches did stop
The bones did regrow and the ache of sailing returned.
The need for a first mate was known
But living on a desert island
And letting my beard grow I could condone.

Traveled to a new port, one unknown
To a market so alive, so colourful – one I’d never been
And there she stood – an amazing woman, one I’d never seen.
Somehow asked the words – “Do you wish to travel the high seas?”

We left and set sail, the winds strong –
Blowing a right gale!
The keel skimmed softly over the sea
Powering past the problems of others as we stood
Hand in hand; make it we would.

It was easy, we crossed borders never seen
Valleys so low, mountains so high, water so pristine.

Suddenly, a shift in the wind – so unforseen
Twisted the boat, throwing my first mate
Into the swirling black abyss of the sea.

I screamed and clambered forward
But it was clear, no way to ignore it
I had gone and done it – had lost my first mate.
I was confused and dazed as the ship’s hull and rocks had their first date.

Smashed hard into the shore, tore open the planks
Peeling open the ship to its core.
Sails torn and mast neutered
The ship lay in ruin, no more sailing would be done.
Wedged solidly into the earth, taking on water
Sinking slowly down to a salty grave til it’s gone.

My skin is cut and bleeding as I clamber over slippery rocks
The wind tears at my eyes, waves claw at my bones
As I try to take stock.
Muster all my strength, I know my leg is broken
Pushing up against the rocks, I recoup the last of my will
The mistakes I’ve made are open, no words need to be spoken.

It’s up to you, Universe. Do what you will.

Submeg

writing, my writing, poetry

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