The Rime of the Modern Mariner

Bill Watt de Heck
Sank right up to his neck
And, furthermore,
He was quite far from shore.
His life vest he’d left
In that old, rocky cleft –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Bill’s luck was good,
And though he understood
That his chances were fading
(No chance of him wading),
He felt God on his side,
And he still had his pride!
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Out further he floated,
By a lifeguard was noted,
A chopper dispatched,
His location it matched.
They lowered a swimmer
But Bill viewed this dimmer –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

The closer he moved,
The more Bill disapproved.
“Wrap this round your chest
And hold on to my vest.”
Bill said with a sigh,
“I’m not that kind of guy!”
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

On he proceeded,
The shoreline receded.
Some dolphins swam by,
With their all-knowing eye,
“Feel free to climb on”
But Bill bade them gone –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

A fish boat arrived,
Glad to find Bill alive.
Of his adventure they knew,
To his rescue they flew.
“I’m still not regrettin’
That I won’t climb no nettin’!”
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Bill finally found land
At St John’s, Newfoundland.
By then he was frozen –
‘Twas the fate he had chosen.
They laid him to rest
On a hill facing west –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

With this cautionary tale,
They began to regale
All the fishers, well-wishers
And seafoody dishers
Lest his madness recurred
And sure rescue demurred –
He was Bill,
The hard-pleasin’ dill.

Stephen Tomkins
30 August 2018
Sydney

 

 

 

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Don’t Give Up

No matter the storms that you’re facing,
Nor the westerly gales.
No matter whose hand on the tiller,
Nor the wind in your sails.
Keep your eyes fixed on the North Star,
And remember the tales
Of those who sailed here before you
And, though their memory pales,
The demons they faced then no stranger
Than the ones you face now.
So breathe deep, set your face and
Take your place at the bow.

Stephen Tomkins
1 September 2016
Singapore

God Bless This Little Boat!

SCN0030494-sgm53113-SMASHING-BOTTLE-OF-CHAMPAGNE-FOR-A-BOAT'S

Like ships, we’re launched into the world

Before we’re really ready.

The ground that we seek solace from

Is never truly steady.

And so we float as best we can

And try to make our way,

And even have a little fun

Before we’re drenched in spray.

Stephen Tomkins
19 January 2016
Sydney

Photo credit:
societbyofsponsorsofusn.org
http://www.photosearch.com

With a View To Breakfast

sunday-brunch1

Motionless ships set on sparkling jewels,
Brilliant-cut diamonds in deep azure pools.
Closer to shore, the worshippers bathe
As the Sun-God ascends over white sand and wave.
And framing it all, as if by design,
A towering pair of lush Norfolk Pines,
Their branches and finger-like leaves reach above,
Beseeching the Sun-God for life-giving love.
Removed from it all, by a clear glassy wall,
Sit I, like a scientist, cold yet in thrall
Of a view unexpected and perfect, serene,
Hypnotic reliever of stress, evergreen.

Stephen Tomkins
21 January 2016
Wollongong

Photo credits:
retaillawadvisor.com.au
secrets magazine.com.au

 

Ocean View

93. Heavy seas at dusk, Imperial Beach, CA-L

Wave after wave, the invasion continues,
Pounding the shore with ephemeral sinews.
Unceasing, the aqueous army advances;
Observing, it’s clear that the whole thing entrances.

The beach battles on in it’s own unique way,
Seemingly letting the sea win the day.
An unlikely defence is so expertly mounted
By armies of sand, in their legions uncounted.

Invaders advance and retreat once again;
The battle continues, a war without end.
A paradox of tumult that somehow brings peace,
A meeting of foes world-renowned for caprice.

Much has been said about maritime moods:
One day she sleeps and the next day she broods.
Perpetual motion, a palette unbounded,
Don’t turn your back or you may just get pounded!

All through the day and then late at night
The sea’s roar continues, but now out of sight.
At some point, the wind’s airy music crescendoes,
Battering huts with tin roofs and small windows.

Transient humans, the sea will remain
Completely unmoved by our joy and our pain.
Her riches we harvest but never can tame
Poseidon unchanging but never the same.

Some say she’s moody but I disagree:
There’s never been artwork that’s quite like the sea!
With every whitecap and every hue,
A masterful canvas no human could do!

Stephen Tomkins
18 December 2014