Palaemon’s Watchmen

A few verses in honour of the brave folk who live and work at sea, and to those who risk life and limb to pull them from it.

Wild, flooded forest, home to the largest of beasts

that feast in the froth and spray

now the grave to at least a million men like me,

who entrust their bodies unto the sea

and the melee of beings that dwell beneath.


Encased, wide-eyed child in the aft

of a battle scarred craft, the tiniest shaft

of light to fend off the night, the infant’s fright

and duplicitous urges of fight or flight.


A mighty haul provokes the captain’s call

to surge over the wall and ‘once more into the breach’

while on a faraway beach stands the lass

who fought the urge to beseech her lad,

‘Just heed this one last forecast’.


Watcher’s eyes follow tempest’s course,

no sound but the wind, racing like a wild horse

to force our brave lads from their bunks

to batten down hatches when the galloping wind catches

one of their number, still slow from slumber,

now falling down and under Poseidon’s icy realm.


Crimson smoke-filled sky catches

the watcher’s careful eye who shouts

above the seagull’s cry “To the ocean we go lest the young lad die”,

thus filling the boat with brave souls who float

on the raging sea and spray for a reward greater than wages pay.


A fellow is lost and we must at all cost

find him before the frost and sea

fills his lungs and he slowly

becomes a thing of the past,

‘in loving memory’, at peace, at last…


The souls in the craft risk all this

for the lads of the oar and their lasses ashore

who give praise to the courage and charity of any

who would train just one and so save many.

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One thought on “Palaemon’s Watchmen

  1. meiro says:

    Lovely and nice written too.


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