Wednesday, August 23, 2017

David Lewis Paget writes

The Black Freighter

The Cormorant was the darkest ship, 
As dark as a ship could be, 
Not only the paint was pitted black 
From the funnels to the sea, 
But deep inside in its rusted gloom 
In the echoes from its shell, 
It was like a monster roamed abroad 
Released from the depths of hell.

It roared and echoed by day and night 
As the boilers turned the screw, 
Lurching across every wave that might 
Try to break its hull in two, 
It was laden down with a thousand tons 
Of a cargo that made it groan, 
While breakers slapped its quivering sides 
As it made its way back home.

The Captain stood on the shuddering bridge, 
A man with a heart of steel, 
He tried to control this raging beast 
As he lashed himself to the wheel, 
He gave no quarter to any man 
Who would shirk, avoid his task, 
But called the crew to witness his due 
As the man was soundly lashed.

Down in the depths of the engine room 
The firemen shovelled coal, 
Each shovel sprayed like a black dismay 
In the light of that glowing hole, 
And steam built up on the pressure gauge 
Of each boiler, one and two, 
As men would fret, while running in sweat, 
To do what they had to do.

The seas built up and the rain came down 
As the Cormorant rolled and swayed, 
Then lightning flashed and it ran to ground 
Like an imp in a masquerade, 
It left three dead on the afterdeck, 
They hurried to help them there, 
But the captain roared, ‘Throw them overboard, 
We’ve more than enough to spare.’

A mutter grew up among the crew 
As dark as the bosun’s hat, 
I never knew what the crew would do 
So I wasn’t in on that. 
But the Captain disappeared from the bridge 
And the wheel was swinging free, 
With the Cormorant broadside to the waves 
At mercy of wind and sea.

They said it must be a miracle 
When we finally entered port, 
The bilge half full of water, they said, 
And the Captain fell overboard. 
But the ship was done, had made its last run 
As the fires went out in the hull, 
Then raking through the mountain of ash 
I found the late Captain’s skull.
 Image result for black freighter painting

 The Black Freighter -- Raoul Dufy


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