The Sailor's Lament

By RhymeBound


The Sailor's Lament

you think that this old man is out of his mind
to hire himself ship and crew,
to sail stormy waters and leave all behind,
so let me explain it to you.

i once knew a man i am proud to have served,
a sailor, my captain, my friend.
he was struck by misfortune so undeserved,
that it vexes my mind to no end.

he envied no man and he wanted for naught,
was respected and loved far and wide.
had a lass for him waiting in every port,
but the sea was his only true bride.

his ship was a beauty, a sight for sore eyes,
his allies all winds and each wave.
no cloud ever tainted his endless blue skies,
his crew it was crafty and brave.

t'were rumors abound of an island due west,
that so far on no map was shown.
our captain was offered with gold full a chest
for finding this island unknown.

there while we searched for that isle unexplored
was laid on our captain a curse,
oh, all his good fortune had gone over board
and things took a turn for the worse.

for one night our sails caught a treacherous breeze.
t'was cold to the soul and the skin.
our poor captain shuddered and fell to his knees
and claimed he heard voices therein.

his eyes were all wild and his mind fast adrift
on oceans that but he could sail.
a weight on his heart that nobody could lift
was placed there by this unheard wail.

he could not believe that but he heard this call
the rest of us deaf to it's sound.
we told him that what he heard was just a squall
but he turned the ship swiftly around.

we all liked our captain and trusted his lead
and solemnly did as he bade.
perhaps there was out there a ship in great need
and we could thus come to their aid.

the next night we've had him describe what he'd heard
and he shook his head and he sighed.
but we had to know and thus were undeterred
and asked him in us to confide.

"my lips they start trembling and heave does my breast
as i hum this so sad and sweet tune.
my heart nigh bursts free for too narrow's my chest.
i feel like in rapture I'd swoon.

oh, her tears they keep falling
the winds whip the sea
and the siren is calling
she's calling for me

my soul is a-trembling
and drowning my heart
in sweet sorrow knowing
we're so far apart..."

madness apparently preyed on his mind,
so i took command of the crew.
the captain i had to his quarters confined
and we changed our heading anew.

but the wind was against us and with it each wave,
were allied to our captain still.
even though he was but of his folly a slave
and not at the helm of his will.

try as we might we could not change our course
the rudder our efforts defied.
our ship it seemed drawn by some magical force
with us just along for the ride.

though he was imprisoned our poor captain would
with dread fill our hearts every night.
that cursed song he'd sing and as loud as he could,
would shout it with all his lungs' might.

"oh, her tears they keep falling
the winds whip the sea
and the siren is calling
she's calling for me

my soul is a-trembling
and drowning my heart
in sweet sorrow knowing
we're so far apart..."

the sea had grown stormy, the skies had grown grey
and our hope it slowly ran dry.
our ship like a juggernaut swift made its way
to whence came this yet unheard cry.

at night i was woken by one of the men.
our captain was gone i was told.
we've searched the whole ship then again and again,
but none of us got of him hold.

bolts of white lighting struck down through the night
and deafening the thunder's deep roar.
with horror we saw in those short moments bright
a reef before rocky a shore.

on the highest of rocks in the eye of the storm
stood a woman of unearthly grace.
she was beauty and sadness and rhyme given form.
i'll always remember her face.

and finally all of us could hear her song,
the song that our captain beguiled.
the crew was befallen by longing so strong
for her voice the sea and soul riled.

those of us with still some sense in them left
by boat we attempted to flee.
although we were almost of all hope bereft,
we rowed to defy the harsh sea.

i looked back and saw our poor captain a-screaming
high up there in the crow's nest
up there on the tip of the highest mast beaming
his fist raised in furious protest

"let the depths crush my ship lest your song crush me heart!
this here place i shall nevermore leave!
from your side and your song i shall nevermore part!
i chose death before unending grief!"

then our ship hit the reef and began its descent
our captain up high on the mast.
the siren kept singing her mournful lament
as slowly my old friend sank past.

so the waves closed above him and sealed was his fate.
we rowed till all our hands bled,
but all of us knew that it was far too late
knew that all of us soon would be dead.

hopeless we were, naught but toys to the waves
and her toys for stuck in our throat.
was the song that had led us to our watery graves,
when finally capsized our boat.

holding on to a barrel I've reached a far shore,
the last shore that i ever saw.
i swore that to sea i shall go nevermore
and to midlands I'd swiftly withdraw.

the tale you've just heard is a forty years old
and every word of it true.
it exactly happened the way i have told
let it be a warning to you.

i've told you this, nephew, just to let you know,
so that you can perhaps understand.
why by morrow once more to high seas i will go,
and leave the safe bosom of land.

forty years I've resisted and clung to the soil.
set never a foot on a ship!
but in vain has been all my denial and toil
for her song still has me in its grip.

my lips they start trembling and heave does my chest
as i hum this so sad and sweet tune
perhaps in the depths of the sea I'll find rest
I hope that I will find out soon.

"oh, her tears they keep falling
the winds whip the sea
and the siren is calling
she's calling for me

my soul is a-trembling
and drowning my heart
in sweet sorrow knowing
we're so far apart..."

~ RhymeBound

[still needs some editing, but will do as a first draft...]

Unauthorized Copying Is Prohibited. Ask the author first.
© 2007 RhymeBound
Published on Tuesday, June 5, 2007.     Filed under: "Structured" and "Poetry"
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Comments on "The Sailor's Lament"

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  • VioletSongBird On Monday, October 23, 2017, VioletSongBird (11)By person wrote:

    I can barely express how much I love this. Truly an inspirational read.

  • PoetessDarkly On Friday, September 21, 2012, PoetessDarkly (1017)By person wrote:

    lovely again, I am speechless.

  • Dilated View On Wednesday, December 16, 2009, Dilated View (661)By person wrote:

    Tragic. As has been said already the rhythm of this was excellent! Too cool.

  • Iwas On Sunday, September 27, 2009, Iwas (41)By person wrote:

    Its avery inticing tale.iwill be reading this again.

  • lovechild On Sunday, March 1, 2009, lovechild (45)By person wrote:

    i was spellbound. this is very unusual to see an old sailor's tale in this age of gansta rap and emo, very very appreciated. not that i don't love some of that forementioned stuff, there is just so much of it.

  • A former member wrote: i agree with The Fool. amazing write!

  • elisa On Monday, May 19, 2008, elisa (1639)By person wrote:

    meter perfection aside.... the content spoke from the depths of a distinctive ache. you put the passion in pen.

  • Echoes of Orpheus On Thursday, April 24, 2008, Echoes of Orpheus (368)By person wrote:

    You don't even know how often the siren calls for me... I've read this far too many times... If I could favorite it more than once, I would.

  • Sketso On Monday, August 27, 2007, Sketso (455)By person wrote:

    Simply amazing... I've always been drawn to works of old captains and their fatal lover: the sea, and this is one of the best. You can almost feel the old man's yearning as your own when you read this work of art.

  • Sketso On Thursday, January 15, 2009, Sketso (455)By person wrote:

    still a purely classical tale, told wonderfully

  • Dissolving Poet On Tuesday, August 7, 2007, Dissolving Poet (564)By person wrote:

    Jesus, you better get published one of these days, I want your book on my shelves, to read you over and over again, you spin tales and capture my heart.. You bind and twist me to your each word.. Incredible beautiful.. Sorrowful.. my heart sings..

  • A former member wrote: yes like everyone keeps raving the rhyme is awesome. Not many here try such a structured approach and I hope you keep it up!

  • Bella Butchery On Friday, June 29, 2007, Bella Butchery (734)By person wrote:

    I love posts about sailors

  • Err0r On Tuesday, June 19, 2007, Err0r (367)By person wrote:

    Wow your rhyme scheme is freaking amazing. I'm very impressed. =)

  • Preacher X On Monday, June 11, 2007, Preacher X (34)By person wrote:

    I simply do not have words for how astounding this is. The stanzas are in almost perfect meter, the ryhmes are perfectly flawless, and i will be damned if it is not almost completely in time when you read it. It's like it was written to be a song.

  • Preacher X On Monday, June 11, 2007, Preacher X (34)By person wrote:

    In fact as i read it my mind automatically put it to song rather than poem. Maybe some day I will record out how i heard it and see if you like it. just amazing.

  • purr_verse On Wednesday, June 6, 2007, purr_verse (1036)By person wrote:

    First draft? Now, THIS is rhyme. Take a bow. And this --> "oh, her tears they keep falling / the winds whip the sea / and the siren is calling / she's calling for me /" - magnificent.

  • Aunty Depressant On Wednesday, June 6, 2007, Aunty Depressant (436)By person wrote:

    Me timbers you shiver, chips ahoy! Yea tongue flow like the river, yea talented bouy. JK..I do love the line about not being at helm of his will.

  • nur hidayah On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, nur hidayah (122)By person wrote:

    ...You work rhymes like no other and I have always admired your works. And that siren's song...! I love that. Actually, though the story is very different, this reminded me of 'The Mariner's Revenge' by the Decemberists. Yours could make a better song tho

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