My Word of the Month poem for January

David on rock 1

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I finally got set up for the Internet. What a difference it makes!

I also worked on my Word of the Month poem inspired by TRANSPORT. Here it is.

Captain’s Log
David L. Harrison

Becalmed,
another windless day,
ropes and rigging,
like my weary passengers,
sagging from boredom.

Godspeed is a good ship
but her canvas wants wind
to finish this historic journey.

We should be there now,
these colonists hard at the task
of settling in the New World,
yet creeping at this pace we’ll be
three more wretched months at sea.

Thirty-nine passengers, thirteen crew
on a vessel sixty-eight feet long –
Transporting human cargo
is too much stench and misery.
Let Susan Constant and Discovery
do as they will.
After this it’s only hard goods for me.

David

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21 comments on “My Word of the Month poem for January

    • Thank you, Jane. I’ve been writing about Jamestown lately for another project so this one came naturally. Actually, the captain in question, Bartholomew Gosnold, remained in Jamestown and died within months. He’s buried there somewhere. There has been a search for his bones but I don’t think they’ve been identified yet.

      David

    • Dear Jeanne,

      Does anyone ever get anything by you? Okay, you got me; it’s a picture from Cannon Beach in Oregon. But it’s the only one in my files with me near water. Guess I’d better take some pictures while we’re here! Love back.

      Surgery? What surgery? Are you okay?

      David

  1. Oh I love that photo, so glad you have the internet now so you can send beauty like that. I’d much rather write about the sea & transport than what I wrote, David. I liked the voice in your poem, resigned, but still admiring his “baggage”. Here’s my response to ‘transport’:

    My car engine starts grumpily
    in the cold of two below.
    Exhaust clouds billow,
    hiding my shivers,
    while scrape,
    scrape,
    scrape
    rakes my ears.

    I imagine the steering wheel,
    my fingers aching
    no matter the gloves.
    Wheels crunch down snowpacked streets.
    I cannot stop shouting delight
    at the heater,
    finally
    finally
    blowing warm.

    Little things mean a lot.

    • Thank you, Renee. It’s hard to imagine such wretched conditions yet thousands of migrants endured them to reach the place of their hopes and dreams. I can easily imagine how a ship’s captain might have muttered to himself now and then about his profession.

  2. You give such a realistic voice to the captain – it’s almost like I’m there. I especially like the comparison of “ropes and rigging” to the passengers. The lengths people will go to fulfill their destiny!

    • Thank you, Matt. Voice begins by developing a sense of time and place. I could never be an actor on stage but I think writers are actors in their heads, hearing the characters they develop as they think and speak their way through the story or poem. If I had not “been there,” I might have missed how those ropes assumed the same listless look as the passengers sagging against the rail.

    • Hi, Bridget,

      I’m glad you like the poem. Funny, isn’t it, how poetry can speak of history, or at least the historical moment?

      David

    • Thank you, Violet. I forget who said to write big by writing small, but often it only takes one or two details to bring a scene to life.

      David

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