Did you every lose yourself in a prompt, or have one haunt you? The Friday picture prompt from Imaginary Garden with Real Toads http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/2011/09/picture-prompt-friday.html, was one of those for me. I glanced at it on Friday after perusing a nautical dictionary http://www.seatalk.info/ I’d found. At the time, I was in the middle of another project, but that image refused to leave me in peace. Finally, today, I found time to write what had grown into a much longer poem than I originally envisioned. Because there were some unusual words used, I added a little lexicon after the poem.
I fell so in love with this poem as it revealed itself to me, I’m calling this a rough draft. I’m sure to come back and edit it more. If anyone has any suggestions for improvements, please let me know. I’m not crazy about the title either.
LOVE’S GREAT COST
By Mike Patrick
Twas there, last I saw her,
on the rocks of Robert’s shoal,
she was the same as followed us
on voyage through the hole.
We crewed the Rowling’s Princess,
full rigged, a sailor’s dream;
young Parker was first mate,
as fine a man as trod the beam.
And when he stood the helm,
he’d raise his voice in song.
His voice, both deep and mellow,
could reach the great beyond.
I was first to spot her,
lying off the larboard bow,
a tiny bit out of reach
of the ship’s short, on-board brow.
She was lovely as an angel,
though with hair a tint of green,
her bosom’s shape was perfect—
as fine as ere I seen.
Twas only when you saw her tail
that things appeared amiss.
She fell hard for Parker,
but only once she felt his kiss.
Half a day from port, we were,
with Parker on the watch,
when his mermaid acted strange.
She slapped her tail and went hotch
while pointing to the east.
A wall appeared at horizon’s edge,
a rogue wave of giant size
twas bearing down like a mighty wedge.
Parker hailed the crew,
and gave us time to safe belay.
Twas enough for all but one
fine sailor on that tragic day.
Green water swept the decks,
and ripped Parker from the wheel.
From o’er sea, there came a cry
of anguish I still feel.
As overboard our eyes were drawn,
we saw Parker in the sea,
held afloat in loving arms;
twas then we learned that mermaids weep.
She pulled him over to the crew,
And kissed him once upon dead lips,
then trailed aft as we went home
to be amongst the anchored ships.
The tide was low as we came in.
Remnants of that awful wave
crashed on and o’er that jagged reef,
which many a hull had staved.
The mermaid’s only thought was of
the only man she’d kissed
She rode a wave upon those rocks
to disappear in mist.
Each time I now go back to sea,
And hear the wind moan through the sails,
I fear I’ll hear the haunting sound
Of the mermaid’s anguished wails.
Beam: width of a ship at its widest part.
Belay: tie down.
Full rigged: a ship of at least three masts, all square rigged.
Green water: water not broken into spray as it comes over the deck.
Helm: the wheel, used to steer a ship.
Hotch: nervous or fidgety.
Larboard: archaic for left.
Shoal: an area where the sea’s bottom rises near the surface.
Staved: crushed, caved in.
Rogue wave: a sea wave of enormous proportions.