The Sea, She Calls: A Sestina

A poem written in the unbelievably challenging form called the sestina.

In the fog of Mystic Seaport waters,
In the bells that ring, ring and ring again,
In the haunt of distant foghorns weeping,
In the ghosts of moonlit sails drifting by,
In the salt of the cold and heartless wind,
I pray the prayer of all lost and lonely souls.

From the depths, come the crying  souls,
Lost forever ‘neath the freezing waters,
As their voices join as one, the wintry wind,
Whirling, swirling, turning once again,
To chill once more my bones ‘fore passing by,
As I pray the prayer of constant weeping.

In hope this sailor’s dream might end my weeping,
And end at last the hurt I share with wayward souls,
To see one’s destiny, far off, sailing by,
To no more race across the sparkling waters,
Or to lift high the billowing sheets again,
As they seize once more the power of the wind.

Ah, yes, she is the Mystery, the Mistress, this ocean wind,
It is she whose laughter wipes away the weeping,
To feel her sunshine kiss upon my face again,
And that embrace that charms all sailor’s souls,
That Siren’s call that wafts to me across the waters,
Her soft seduction in my mind, returning from days gone by.

Hark! I hear a midnight schooner, drawing by,
She slumbers slower in the dying, harbor wind,
Her prow pushing gently aside the quiet waters,
As if to end the seas mighty roar into whispered weeping,
Aboard I can hear the sleeping of her boarded souls,
Unknown but to their dreams, their coming home again.

No greater peace for the voyager than to be safe in port again,
To smell the savory scent of  land, to hear earth’s footsteps walking by,
To be among the village folks, to be among the landed souls,
To be no longer at the mercy of the fateful wind,
To dream no more of widows in their lonely pillows, weeping,
No more listening to the lapping upon the timbers, those deathly waters.

So here I sit, casting words as if they were lost souls into the wind,
adding to the waiting, wanting waters, this wistful weeping of my tears,
and as the distant lanterns on the distant ships go by, I long to sail again.

The End

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