Land Ahoy!

Tattered sail cloth whips and cracks,
as broken rigging flails like a cat o ’nine tails,
the wheel spinning wildly,
the rudder surely broken,
a harbour, a haven,
any port in a storm,
a shelter from Poseidon’s wrath,
a cry goes out and again,
on deck no one hears the lookout,
again he cries, straining his lungs:
Land ahoy!
Land ahoy!
The Captain catches a whisper in the wind
and does what he might with the wayward wheel
all for naught, the strain in vain
he orders the boat launched:
Abandon ship!
Abandon ship!

The boat fares little better than the ship
broken on rocks by crushing waves
the crew, half dead or dying, broken too
by the oceans teeth
washed up at last on dark sand
flotsam and jetsam all around
gasping for breath, clinging onto life
a murmur starts:
We are saved!
We are saved!
Waking, wondering, asking where,
asking how this came to pass,
fifteen of sixty stand alone,
on sandy shores,
on unknown land,
with no hope of return, they suppose,
with little of survival, some surmise,
till natives, dressed in grass and scant all else
leave the tree line,
carrying food and water too,
beaming smiles:
Welcome!
Welcome!

Long years pass with nary a ship,
men marry and are fathers,
the natives kind and sharing,
still some, the Captain and the mate, at least,
often stare at the wide blue sea, wondering,
wishing, dreaming,
knowing deep in their hearts,
that whilst long they loved the oceans wide,
‘twas the land that saved their souls,
yet still the Captain keeps an ear to the wind,
lest he should miss the cry:
Ship ahoy!
Ship ahoy!

Iain

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