Poetry: The Tempest

Posted: Friday, April 02, 2010

Hard swallows whilst bearin' heart pangs in motion

High seas; sailin' leagues in search lost devotion

Distress call with thy mermaid's knack

Changeth mine maritime tack

Tattered sails and ghostly wails

Creakin' boards; amidst mostly gales

Grippeth rails; art reach for you

Frantic face, thine embrace too

Dangerous curves and searin' eyes

Wind swept hair, holdin' on for dear lives

Charteth so as weather she through

Scuttleth fears, whether thou knew?

Strugglin' hard not to stare

Modesty, and nigh'ly bare

Sayeth faith in thee; come what motin' be

'Fraideth wrath of sea; come wrought against me

Amidst lightnin' strikes and strong winter hails

Dodgin' shoals and deafenin' wails

Flashin' silhouette 'midst you and thine misty bissou

Fearin' she'll settle; admits, yet mine persistly sea through

Winter chill and awfully smote

'Twas better doffin' me's pea coat

Fixatin' on the skipper's

Blushin', and with coy snickers

Breakin' waves and into the tempest

Holdin' on and fairin' our damndest

That thy warn't yet thar too

Hast pushed mine through

An unwieldy and unresponsive tiller

But she werts mine ballastin' pillar

Set mine straight and reachin' that strait

Headwinds gait, crestin' wake

Reasonin' Saint Elias above wrangell'eth his seine

Ragin' 'midst us wrack selfeth awainin'

Stormeth 'ath she blew, fro ghastly list

Sweetest kiss knew, so sorely missed

Last tackin' aport sans precision

Alas, driftin' to ours port protection

Every dockworker thar standeth they agawk

Nary fret danger; thar thee pranceth their dock

Salty tars that liketh ours wined

Grippin' tales, 'ath both we dined

Sittin' betwixt nigh me;

Citin' mixed, high envy

Amazed at haveth reached shore

Amidst gasps of hearin's such lore

Haveth trawled and caught such a maiden

Stareth we bold; fraught, much attention

A guffaw at this shipfull dodgeth sinks

With cheers and a roundfull of drinks

As fallin' aboard as checkmate

Feelin' she werts my only first mate

Pearlin' eyes and tears astreamin'

Unstable footin' with head aswimmin'

Ensnarin', this airy mermaid;

Captivatin', in nigh'ly all she bade

A dockworker haveth learned by rote

But menacin'; hath she dote

Glistenin' tail and a charm thine belay

Head to tail warm and mine allay

Bet we'd be reelin' the tonnages

Set out voyagin' thar Tongass'

Beauty and charm fallin' heir the galley's ere

Rumor amidships gatherin' far gentries fare

In calm waters and 'round sweet smilin'

Bound, much fleet decidin'

With well baited hook after heardeth she sing;

The Chinook she mistooketh ye King!

• Chris Barry lives on Prince of Wales island and has a background in technical writing. "The Tempest" was his first attempt at poetry.


1. Special thanks to that fair lass; whose inspiration mine bequeathed, Christmas last.

2. Nils-Lennart Johannesson for contributions to The Ormulum Project and making the punctus interrogativus and punctus elevatus fonts freely and publically available: (http://www2.english.su.se/nlj/ormproj/ormulum.htm).

3. Dedicated to southeast Alaskan fishermen and dockworkers.

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