| Letters and Diary Poetry
posted February 27, 2022
On Alaskan fishery patrol USCG
Be a Sailor; See the World
The toot of a bosun's pipe announcing the Captains' arrival
is the beginning to end a visit in one port
before embarking on a voyage at sea.
The gangplank is hoisted by a davit and secured in place.
Hawsers are released from the piers and stowed below deck.
Fenders are freed from their assignments, and water begins to roil.
The ship's propellers first turn, then churn, the sea soup aft ward
and slowly, "she," the endearing term sailors' use for ships,
drifts away from her port of call, veering starboard into the unknown.
Unknown, because once the harbor is cleared
and the shoreline vanishes from sight, be it day or night,
the view is endless. Water is everywhere,
and as deep as the view is far and wide.
The essence of the sea is unfathomable, a mystery in the making.
It can be as quiet as silk sheets, calm with nary a ripple evident;
mirror-like, 'til a breeze stirs its surface, smudging its glasslike finish.
Within hours, the sea becomes a woman scorned. Her mood changes
for the worse. A complexion of peace is replaced, with burrowing waves,
like ringlets of hair in a hurricane, uncontrolled. Combers too large to surf
unless your surfboard is as big as a ship. There are no pipelines to ride
as a surfer's imagination would allow them to do.
Time and again, you are buried beneath tons of thrashing water,
hoping the sea will burp you again to the surface instead of
swallowing you whole, as a shark would a seal, rendering you
into pieces so small, you would never be recovered.
Then as quickly as the tempest arrived, peace reigns again.
You revel in the maelstrom's passing and
for the smoothness of the ride returning.
The marvels of the sea are many.
Such as a porpoise cutting across the bow
or an albatross gliding behind the stern for hours.
Flying fish skip across wavelets like stones thrown by a boy,
and the waters' bioluminescence glow in the lightless night
are as mesmerizing as glow sticks in a darken forest.
As the oceanic passage nears an end, another coastline appears.
The excitement of landing ashore in a foreign port-of-call
is stimulating, for you know not what lies ahead.
Will the woman you meet be as mesmerizing
as the woman you left before putting to sea?
How will you know unless you adventure ashore?
They should have taught due diligence in boot camp.
Anchors aweigh, mates.
Memories writing prompt entry
Look at some old photographs and write about a memory or a thought that they give you. If possible (not required) include the image in your poem.
I have experienced seas a flat as a fitted sheet, and waves as tall as 50 feet high off Iceland. Alaskan seas are capable of changing quickest than any I've been asea on.
and 2 member cents.
Photograph of me retrieving a bathythermograph of the Cutter Jarvis.
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