Nirvana S4:E2

(This poem is inspired by The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll and our last couple weeks aboard as we make our way south through North Carolina and South Carolina.)

The Sailor and Her Mate

The sun was shining on the sea
shining with all its might
It did its very best to make
the Sailor feel delight
and this was hard because she felt
somewhat of a fright.

The sea was wet as wet could be
The sails were like a drum
The boat it surfed just like a bird
On a near broad reach and run
Threatening with every swell
To gybe the boom for fun.

The wind was blowing mighty fierce
The seas were close behind.
You had to grip the wheel so tight
To keep from going wide.
The main was full, no reefs were set
There were no reefs to tie.

She looked at him and he to her
And called on her reserves
She closed her eyes and breathed some breaths
To calm her frazzled nerves.
He frolicked in the following seas,
Surfing in gentle curves.

“We should have reefed before we left,”
They rousingly concurred.
“Lesson learned for next time then.”
And not another word.
Yet brewing just beneath her skin
A fear as yet unheard.

“O Courage come and be with me,”
She spoke outloud to him.
“I do not want this sail to feel
So treacherous and grim.”
“It’s how it is, my love,”
He said, sporting a kindly grin.

The day it passed, the next arose
And off they set again
An early morn, the offshore route
With wind behind, no rain,
“The seas are readily in hand,”
His confident refrain.

She fixed some lunch on the gimbled stove,
He relished in its taste,
She smiled at him with wheel in hand,
He looked her in the face.
The fear she felt the day before
Was almost all erased.

Approaching Charleston Harbor then
The inlet close at hand
He dodged a fishing boat ahead
Then fixed his course for land,
A huge container ship cruised by,
Not something he had planned.

He passed too close, the waves were rough,
Causing the boat to quake.
She looked on deck, the vang had snapped.
It was the second break.
Although he had replaced it well
It could not take the wake.

They faced the wind and dropped the sails
Right outside the jetty,
Yet just a hundred yards ahead
The sea was calm and steady.
“Timing,” he said “is everything,”
But the break was done already.

He felt himself responsible and uttered this outloud.
He rowed ashore for penance then
Her hot, wet tears they flowed,
Wondering inside if she was
Sufficiently endowed.

“The time has come,” the Sailor said “to talk of many things.
Of tides and wind and seas and swell,
And whether boats have wings,
Why she despairs when he delights
No matter what life brings.”

A sailor is a salty dog who’s out there for the pleasure,
Yet what brings joy to one man’s heart
Appears in different measure.
Enjoying the experience, it seems
Depends a lot on weather.

And whether one can stretch one’s legs
And spend some time on land
To balance out the vagaries
Which sailors know first hand,
To find a safe harbor where
One’s senses can expand.

For life aboard a boat, you see
Is not a life for all.
The ground beneath your feet, it moves,
The quarters are quite small,
And danger lurks around each bend:
A cosmic free-for-all.

Like when the anchor’s set at night
You watch it for a spell
To see if you are holding fast
Or drifting with the swell.
And if there’s no hot water left
You often frankly smell.

The bunk converges at the feet,
The head demands attention,
The windows drip, the cabin’s heat
Requires a minor intervention,
And each piece of gear you meet
Is stowed with great intention.

But when you cozy down at night
All safely below decks
And brownies in the oven make
Boat life not so complex
And sunsets in the cockpit have
Their magical effects,

It’s then that living on a boat
Becomes a grand parade.
The cockpit opens up the world
With every anchor weighed,
Horizon stretching all around,
No, then she’s not afraid.

You plot a course and follow true
As much as you are able
Until the universe decides it’s time
To challenge all that’s stable
Precisely when no compass course
Can help you to enable

The inner calm when shifting winds
Alert you to your senses,
When what you do and who you are
Become your best defenses,
To trust yourself above all else,
Accept all consequences.

“Let’s slow things down,” they both agreed
“Not like we’ve done to date.”
For both of them were out of breath
And neither of them late.
The morning of departure came
And they were struck by fate:
A passing boat in predawn dark
Collided, but did not wait.

“Sometimes this life is truly tough
And frankly isn’t fun.”
He looked at her with knowing eyes
But answer came there none
For with each passing day ahead
She’d relished every one.

You can follow our travels on Instagram as well at natasha.salvo

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