WINTER AT THE HELM

Topside at night

when the north wind blows

foaming waves sling icy spray

to sting face, hands and toes.

Frozen fingers clutch the wheel,

Legs ache and tremble

fatigued from fighting

the unsteady heel.

 

On the pitching deck eyes water

searching for a familiar buoy,

a speck of land;

straining and squinting to see

through thick clouds and tumbling seas

a lighthouse flash 

or spit of sand.

 

Topside the clock ticks dreadful slow

but even stagnant time, in time, will flow

and the watch get sent below.

 

Below a coal stove glows

burnishing the woody cabin gold.

Take a towel, damn the cold,

wipe water from your runny nose.

 

stormy seas_edited.jpg

Below warm and dry

cocooned in oaken walls

we'll sip some rum

curse the winter and the waves

and dream of summer days to come.

Winter at the Helm.mp3