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Thread: Poetry and Creative writing

  1. #31
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    I was staying on the old Queen Mary in Long Beach, CAL. two years ago this coming January.
    I saw a Father Christmas and then I saw another and another, then there were hundreds of them I was surrounded. I thought I was in a place where they dump all the Father Christmas`s every year. or I had had too much Rum.
    or I was in a place where they put people who do not put money in the collection boxes and then they are haunted by Father Christmas`s Past.
    I was the only man on board who did not look like a Father Christmas.
    I grabbed hold of one and asked what was going on. It was a convention of Father Chrismas`s from all over the States, they meet up every year after Christmas.
    Here is one of them. Father Christmas is the one in the middle.

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    Last edited by captain kong; 11-30-2008 at 11:47 AM.

  2. #32
    Liverpool New Yorker! Ronijayne's Avatar
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    I was surrounded by Santas in Manhattan once, a huge team of them!! They had just finished their training it seems
    Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

  3. #33
    Liverpool New Yorker! Ronijayne's Avatar
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    I had dinner on Queen Mary in Long Beach two years ago too!!!
    Earth is the insane asylum for the universe.

  4. #34
    Senior Member kevin's Avatar
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    As always happens, I was searching for something and found something else.
    I wrote a poem when on the Benefactor in the early 80s. Times were hard for shipping companies and Harrison Line were down to 9 ships, Astronomer, Adviser, Author, Strategist, Specialist, Warrior, Wanderer, Wayfarer, and the 'Beni'.
    These replaced much smaller general cargo ships. Fewer staff due to advances in technology and the increasing use of automation. Staff were on reduced pay when leave was over and no ship was available - this was called retention.

    Some of this is as relevant today as it was then. I was made redundant in 1983. Harrison's ceased trading in 2002.

    That should be enough info for you to understand the poem. I left it behind on the Beni and someone sent it to the company, who published it in the company newsletter of June 1983. My name wasn't on it and it was attributed to 'The Beni Poet Laureate'. What I've found is the original, plus the newsletter it was in.

    Changing Times
    Two S's, three A's
    Three W's too
    Plus the old Beni
    The numbers are few

    Twenty-nine ships
    When I first joined the line
    The twenty have gone
    Which leaves us with nine

    Automation is here
    It's a push-button life
    But try telling that
    To the redundant man's wife

    The wastage is great
    In men and machines
    And I dread to consider
    The out of work teens

    Tory or labour
    They're both just the same
    It's a world-wide recession
    Who knows who to blame?

    But there's hope in the future
    We're building new ships
    Will retention be over
    By their maiden trips?

    So let's hope for more charters
    At favourable rates
    And future employment
    For all our shipmates

  5. #35
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Very good Kevin.
    I guess they call it progress.
    Like the old days
    ten men for five mens jobs.
    How did the reunion go last week ??

  6. #36
    Senior Member kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by captain kong View Post
    Very good Kevin.
    I guess they call it progress.
    Like the old days
    ten men for five mens jobs.
    How did the reunion go last week ??
    Apparently there were nearly 200 hundred at the meal at the Adelphi. I was at a funeral in Woolton and then went to the Crown for 2.30. Saw lots of old friends but it was quite scary - guys I'd know when in their 30s and 40s, in their prime, were now in their 60s and 70s.
    Resurrected a few old friendships and been in touch with them again already. Looking forward to next year's do.

    Just realised that I was looking in the wrong newsletter. The poem was published in May '82, not June '83. When the poem was publsihed the Benefactor had already been sold.
    Last edited by kevin; 12-02-2008 at 04:54 PM.

  7. #37
    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    Brilliant poem Kevin and so apt for today,nothing changes except our bodies, gone are those lissome youths of yesteryear, like our jobs it's all gone south!

  8. #38
    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    Robert Service was noted among roughnecks for his Songs of a Sourdough,with Eskimo Nell and the Ballad of Dan Mcgrew being among their number,but here he is with a poem of a more whimsical nature ,composed when he was sailing to London....


    We'd left the sea-gulls long behind
    And we were almost in mid-ocean,
    The sky was soft and blue and kind,
    The boat had scarcely any motion;
    Except that songfully it sped,
    And sheared the foam swift as an arroww....
    There fluttered down a city sparrow.

    I stared with something of surprise;
    That apparition mocked my seeming;
    In fact I gently rubbed my eyes
    And wondered if I were not dreaming.
    It must, I mused , at Montreal
    Have hopped aboard,somewhere to nestle,
    And failed to heed the warning call
    For visitors to leave the vessel.

    Well,anyway a bird it was
    With winky eyes and wings a-twitter,
    Unwise to migration Laws,
    From Canada a hardy flitter;
    And as it hopped about the deck,
    So happily I wondered wether
    It was'nt scramming from Quebec
    For Londons mild and moister weather.

    My rovers' heart went out to it,
    That vain ,vivacious little devil;
    And as I watched it hop and flit
    I hoped it would not come to evil ,
    It planed above the plangent sea
    ( A foolish flight ,I'd never risk it )
    And then it circled back to me
    And from my palm picked crumbs of biscuit.

    Well,voyages come to an end
    (We make them with that understanding)
    One morn I missed my feathered friend,
    And hope it made a happy landing.
    Oh may she ever happy be
    (It t'was a she) with eggs to it on,
    And rest on our side of the sea,
    A brave ,brown ,cheery, chirping Briton.

    - Robert Service

  9. #39
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Does anyone know of the one by Robert Service,
    The Barmaids Lament.... about her and her Sailor lover.
    some of the verse goes like this.........
    He lies beside me in my bed
    Upon my breast he lays his head
    Oh how I wish that I were dead
    For he sails in the morning.

    I feel his baby in my womb
    in his life we have no room

    for he sails in the morning.

    Reminds me of a beautiful barmaid, Mary, I once knew many , many years ago.Lovely girl.

  10. #40
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    Wreck of the Hesperus
    by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

    It was the schooner Hesperus,
    That sailed the wintry sea;
    And the skipper had taken his little daughter,
    To bear him company.

    Blue were her eyes as the fairy flax,
    Her cheeks like the dawn of day,
    And her bosom white as the hawthorn buds,
    That one in the month of May.

    The Skipper he stood beside the helm,
    His pipe was in his mouth,
    And he watched how the veering flaw did blow
    The smoke now West, now South.

    Then up and spake an old Sailor,
    Had sailed the Spanish Main,
    "I pray thee, put into yonder port,
    for I fear a hurricane.

    "Last night the moon had a golden ring,
    And to-night no moon we see!"
    The skipper, he blew whiff from his pipe,
    And a scornful laugh laughed he.

    Colder and louder blew the wind,
    A gale from the Northeast,
    The snow fell hissing in the brine,
    And the billows frothed like yeast.

    Down came the storm, and smote amain
    The vessel in its strength;
    The shuddered and paused, like a frighted steed,
    Then leaped her cable's length.

    "Come hither! come hither! my little daughter,
    And do not tremble so;
    For I can weather the roughest gale
    That ever wind did blow."

    He wrapped her warm in his seaman's coat
    Against the stinging blast;
    He cut a rope from a broken spar,
    And bound her to the mast.

    "O father! I hear the church bells ring,
    Oh, say, what may it be?"
    "Tis a fog-bell on a rock bound coast!" --
    And he steered for the open sea.

    "O father! I hear the sound of guns;
    Oh, say, what may it be?"
    Some ship in distress, that cannot live
    In such an angry sea!"

    "O father! I see a gleaming light.
    Oh say, what may it be?"
    But the father answered never a word,
    A frozen corpse was he.

    Lashed to the helm, all stiff and stark,
    With his face turned to the skies,
    The lantern gleamed through the gleaming snow
    On his fixed and glassy eyes.

    Then the maiden clasped her hands and prayed
    That saved she might be;
    And she thought of Christ, who stilled the wave,
    On the Lake of Galilee.

    And fast through the midnight dark and drear,
    Through the whistling sleet and snow,
    Like a sheeted ghost, the vessel swept
    Tow'rds the reef of Norman's Woe.

    And ever the fitful gusts between
    A sound came from the land;
    It was the sound of the trampling surf,
    On the rocks and hard sea-sand.

    The breakers were right beneath her bows,
    She drifted a dreary wreck,
    And a whooping billow swept the crew
    Like icicles from her deck.

    She struck where the white and fleecy waves
    Looked soft as carded wool,
    But the cruel rocks, they gored her side
    Like the horns of an angry bull.

    Her rattling shrouds, all sheathed in ice,
    With the masts went by the board;
    Like a vessel of glass, she stove and sank,
    Ho! ho! the breakers roared!

    At daybreak, on the bleak sea-beach,
    A fisherman stood aghast,
    To see the form of a maiden fair,
    Lashed close to a drifting mast.

    The salt sea was frozen on her breast,
    The salt tears in her eyes;
    And he saw her hair, like the brown sea-weed,
    On the billows fall and rise.

    Such was the wreck of the Hesperus,
    In the midnight and the snow!
    Christ save us all from a death like this,
    On the reef of Norman's Woe!

  11. #41
    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    Oh Captain Cong,what a poem,and one I cannot read without hearing the parodies that countless comedians have done on it over the years.Nevertheless,it stillhas the power to move one if read slowly and without distraction.

  12. #42
    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    And ,whilst the Muse is now upon us ,let favour her with abit of Masefield.......

    A Wanderers Song

    A winds in the heart of me ,a fire's in my heels,
    I am tired of brick and stone and rumbling wagon wheels;
    I hunger for the seas edge, the limit of the land,
    Where the wild old Atlantic is shouting on the sand.

    Oh I'll be going,leaving the noises of the street,
    To where a lifting foresail -foot is yanking at the sheet;
    To a windy,tossing anchorage where yawls and ketches ride,
    Oh I'll be going ,going,until I meet the tide.

    And first I'll hear the sea-wind, the mewing of the gulls,
    The clucking ,sucking of the sea about the rusty hulls,
    The songs at the capstan at the hooker warping out,
    And then the heart of me'll know I'm there or thereabout.

    Oh I am sick of brick and stone,the heart of me is sick,
    For windy green, unquiet sea,the realm of Moby Dick;
    And I'll be going, going, from the roaring of the wheels,
    For a wind's in the heart of me , a fire's in my heels.
    John Masefield

    Just reading that again brings back the sound of the wind in the halyards and the steady thrumming of the engine as we head into a Nor'wester on the way to New York. White horses ride the wave tops and the sea is cobalt beneath a blue denim sky. 8 bells are ringing and it'll soon be time for breakfast, oh brother ,take me home ,take me back to sea.!!

  13. #43
    Captain Kong captain kong's Avatar
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    In December, 1953 on the New Zealand Star
    In East London we did stay
    but Ken Hignett and I
    didn`t know he would die
    on some beach called Bonza Bay.

    The story began
    when the Mission Man
    said he would take us away for the day
    so all of us went off on his bus
    to a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken jumped in
    he just couldn`t swim
    and the tide soon carried him away.
    Though I struggled and tried
    Ken drowned and then died
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    Then I was seen on a wave
    by a lad named Dave
    who swam out to get me away
    and through struggle and strife
    that lad saved my life
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    When Ken washed ashore
    his life was no more
    Five days since he got swept away
    and he lay all alone
    on the the sand and the stone
    on a beach called Bonza Bay

    So they buried Ken in a Sailors grave
    at a place where the palm trees sway,
    on a foreign strand
    in a far off land
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

    It`s been 50 years
    since the grief and the tears
    and in the time that I was away
    I found Ken`s Grave
    and the man named Dave
    near a beach called Bonza Bay

  14. #44
    Senior Member roccija's Avatar
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    Owen Sound, Canada

    Default "The Anzac"

    The following was sent to me by the wife of a very good friend of mine,- a
    Canadian Regimental Sergeant Major, who returned from a tour of duty in Egypt as RSM of the Multinational Peackeeping Force recently.

    The Anzac on the Wall

    I wandered thru a country town 'cos I had time to spare,
    And went into an antique shop to see what was in there.
    Old Bikes and pumps and kero lamps, but hidden by it all,
    A photo of a soldier boy - an Anzac on the Wall.

    "The Anzac have a name?" I asked. The old man answered "No,.
    The ones who could have told me mate, have passed on long ago.
    The old man kept on talking and, according to his tale,
    The photo was unwanted junk bought from a clearance sale.

    "I asked around," the old man said, "but no one knows his face,
    He's been on that wall twenty years, deserves a better place.
    For some one must have loved him so, it seems a shame somehow."
    I nodded in agreement and then said, "I'll take him now."

    My nameless digger's photo, well it was a sorry sight
    A cracked glass pane and a broken frame - I had to make it right
    To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case,
    "Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place.

    I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,
    Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes
    The first reveals my Anzac's name, and regiment of course
    John Mathew Francis Stuart - of Australia's own Light Horse.

    This letter written from the front, my interest now was keen
    This note was dated August seventh 1917
    "Dear Mum, I'm at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea
    They say it's in the Bible - looks like Billabong to me.

    "My Kathy wrote I'm in her prayers she's still my bride to be
    I just cant wait to see you both you're all the world to me
    And Mum you'll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out
    I told him to call on you when he's up and about."

    "That bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny
    He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the Co's dunny.
    I told you how he dragged me wounded in from no man's land
    He stopped the bleeding closed the wound with only his bare hand."

    "Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast
    It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn't last
    He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind

    Cause out there on the battlefield he'd left one leg behind."

    "He's been in a bad way mum, he knows he'll ride no more
    Like me he loves a horse's back he was a champ before.
    So Please Mum can you take him in, he's been like my brother
    Raised in a Queensland orphanage he' s never known a mother."

    But Struth, I miss Australia mum, and in my mind each day
    I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away
    I'm mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel's hump in sight
    And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night

    I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down
    I'll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town".
    The second letter I could see was in a lady's hand
    An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land

    Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean
    It bore the date November 3rd 1917.
    "T'was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war
    I'd hoped you would be home by now - each day I miss you more"

    "Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away
    To share with me her hopes and dreams about your wedding day
    And Bluey has arrived - and what a godsend he has been
    We talked and laughed for days about the things you've done and seen"

    "He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm,
    I read the same hope in his eyes that you wont come to harm.
    Mc Connell's kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed
    We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange."
    "Last Wednesday just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight
    It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright
    It really spooked your Billy - and he screamed and bucked and reared
    And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared"

    "They brought him back next afternoon, but something's changed I fear
    It's like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near
    Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane?
    Now Horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,"
    "That's why we need you home son" - then the flow of ink went dry-
    This letter was unfinished, and I couldn't work out why.
    Until I started reading the letter number three
    A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy
    Her son killed in action - oh - what pain that must have been
    The Same date as her letter - 3rd November 17
    This letter which was never sent, became then one of three
    She sealed behind the photo's face - the face she longed to see.

    And John's home town's old timers -children when he went to war
    Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.
    They knew his widowed mother well - and with respect did tell
    How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well.
    She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak
    "My Johnny's at the war you know , he's coming home next week."
    They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end
    A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend

    And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak
    And always softly say "yes dear - John will be home next week."
    Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say
    I tried to find out where he went, but dont know to this day
    And Kathy never wed - a lonely spinster some found odd
    She wouldn't set foot in a church - she'd turned her back on God
    John's mother left no will I learned on my detective trail
    This explains my photo's journey, that clearance sale
    So I continued digging cause I wanted to know more
    I found John's name with thousands in the records of the war
    His last ride proved his courage - a ride you will acclaim
    The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame

    That last day in October back in 1917
    At 4pm our brave boys fell - that sad fact I did glean
    That's when John's life was sacrificed, the record's crystal clear
    But 4pm in Beersheba is midnight over here.......
    So as John's gallant sprit rose to cross the great divide
    Were lightning bolts back home a signal from the other side?
    Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain?
    Because he'd never feel his master on his back again?
    Was it coincidental? same time - same day - same date?

    Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?
    I think it's more than that, you know, as I've heard wiser men,
    Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken

    Where craggy peaks guard secrets neath dark skies torn asunder
    Where hoofbeats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder
    Where lightning cracks like 303's and ricochets again
    Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men
    Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track
    They've glimpsed a huge black stallion - Light Horseman on his back.

    Yes Sceptics say, it's swirling clouds just forming apparitions
    Oh no, my friend you cant dismiss all this as superstition
    The desert of Beersheba - or windswept Aussie range
    John Stuart rides forever there - Now I dont find that strange.
    Now some gaze at this photo, and they often question me
    And I tell them a small white lie, and say he's family.
    "You must be proud of him." they say - I tell them, one and all,
    That's why he takes the pride of place - my Anzac on the Wall

    Author unknown.

    Bob F

  15. #45
    Senior Member brian daley's Avatar
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    Bob,...........that was so moving, the words went right to my heart. I can see that sepia photograph hanging on the wall, and all the broken dreams that lay behind it. thank you for sharing it with us.

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