Life On The Sea – NaPoWriMo 2015 – Day 3 (out of prompt)

Sailing ship - morguefile

He sails the seas seven,
Now calls them his home,
Turns his back to the land,
Feels freedom to roam,
Yet being neither Captain,
Nor first or second mate,
Finds his new freedom
Swiftly under constraint,
So much to do all through the day,
So little time to up and to stray,
No say on the heading,
Though a world to explore,
Just scrubbing and cleaning,
More and still more.

His sea-locked land soon loses its charm,
At next port he reckons he’ll jump the yard arm,
Find his own ship to steer, to navigate,
Take on loads to suit his own plate,
Never be driven by prices and costs,
Just keep his end up, regardless of loss.

His dream shatters fast as the bell rings again,
More work to do, more scrubbing, more pain,
His face tells his tale as the Captain walks past,
Who orders him hung from the main, tallest mast.

Early days sailing, not for the faint heart,
Salted meats, biscuits and rum, for a start,
Long days on the rope or climbing up high,
Scrubbing the wood, tying the tie,
No dreams of new lands to be seen, tasted, heard,
But endless seawater and lonely seabirds.


With thanks to Cynthia Jobin at
for your insight and help – the line is much better!
Cynthia is a superb poet, her site well worth a visit.

Β© Copyright 2015 Robin McShane
As per this blog’s copyright statement


15 comments on “Life On The Sea – NaPoWriMo 2015 – Day 3 (out of prompt)

  1. Ah, you have made myth of the human experience. We all become travelers on life’s journey and we all rebel after beginning. That’s because although we understand (on a surface level), we do not really comprehend that first we must learn the rules before breaking them at our leisure. It makes no difference if the sea we cross is water, words, or simply a bottomless pond of emotions or imagery. I love what you have done, it feels both new and old, all at the same time and is Universal,


    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah Elizabeth, you see so much! πŸ™‚ Thank you for your wonderful comment – so true. We do love to take our journeys at face value – often prolonging the experience! There is always more going on beneath the surface, as you say, whatever that surface is! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m really glad if I helped. I know, in my own work, it’s handy sometimes to have a second pair of eyes and ears to see or hear something that I sense about it, but am too close to perceive, after working on it so long. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great story telling here, Rob! It reads like a song, one that the sailor you write of may have come up with. A bittersweet tune to pass the time, to count the days.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Cynthia, may I ask for your input please? I fiddled with the line ‘Find his own ship to sail, to steer, navigate’ – putting in the ‘to steer’, taking it out, putting it back, etc. Even now when I read it, sometimes it sounds /feels better in, and other times not! A real conundrum! Any suggestions?


    • I should first say that it didn’t “snag” for me when I first read it. Two thoughts:…are steering and navigating both sailing, so that sailing not really needed? Secondly, the infinitives are not in parallel construction….that is, you have TO sail, TO steer, but no TO in front of navigate, which might cause a certain feeling of imbalance. I guess I would omit “to sail” and add “to” in front of “navigate” so it would read “Find his own ship to steer, to navigate”. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

      • Brilliant Cynthia – thanks! Definitely the infinitive without the TO causing the imbalance for me and, as you say, both verbs imply sailing – your version flows much better for me. Mind if I use it? πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You are giving Henry Wadsworth Longfellow a run for his money, here, Rob. Very nicely, smoothly done! It reminds me of a little ditty I used to hear sung: “I joined the navy to see the world,/ but what did I see?/ I saw the sea!”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Wow Cynthia! That’s a heck of a comment and comparison! Phew! Means a lot – especially coming from yourself – thank you!
      Lovely to see/hear the ditty again too – been a while! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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