Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1696544-Captain-Seth
by fyn
Rated: E · Poetry · Action/Adventure · #1696544
Long dead, but somehow yet alive
Beyond the crooked hook of Massachusetts Bay, some ten nautical miles past Nantucket Cay,
is a spit of land, like a forgotten breath, where you'll find the remains of old Cap'n Seth.
Now ole Seth was a fisherman, born and bred, sea-worn decks were where he earned his bread
and for nigh onto fifty some years on the sea, did he faithfully fish on the Sarah Leigh.

From cabin boy to deck hand he rose through the ranks as they fished from the Bay to the Outer Banks.
First Mate, he celebrated by gaining a wife who raised five children through both health and strife.
He made Captain the year his eldest son wed, now he ran his own ship and his crew did as he said.
Their catches always seemed to fill the hold, and Captain Seth's ship was considered pure gold.

Twenty years onward he captained his crew and his wife began asking him when he'd be through.
"I'll die on me decks as a sailor should- midst fish and buoys, nets and wood.
A November storm blew in cold and fast, a forty knot wind took out the main mast.
He lost some of his crew over the rail, tattered strips were all that remained of the sail.

For fifteen days the battered wreck drifted following currents and tides as they shifted.
His First Mate jumped overboard screaming of thirst breaking his neck as he hit the waters head first.
His cabin boy with his calico cat gave up the ghost sometime soon after that.
Captain Seth wanted to bury the boy at sea, but was too weak and too sick; so he just left him be.

Alone he lay on the deck of his boat, his farewell message in the ship's log he wrote.
A star filled sky gazed on Seth the day he died-- on the deck of his ship, fish and nets along side.
His bones were nigh bleached when the boat came ashore, though before it was sighted was several months more.
A rugged stone cross now marks two shallow graves, though if there be storms, water over them, waves.

The old timers say fishing is good near the spit and following winds blow gentle near it.
His wife sits in her rocker near Quincey Bay, still proud of how he died the way
he'd always said he wanted to go and she'd always known that someday it would be so.
His eldest now captains a boat of his own, the others all crew now that they're long grown.

Wander down Front Street, you can still hear the tales of Old Captain Seth-- how he sang to his sails,
how he greeted his wife when he returned from the sea and how he was a sailor of the finest degree.
Those crusty old men with the sea still in their veins, don't tender praise lightly for what would be gained?
They still check on his wife as she rocks in her chair, and she still talks to him as if he were there.

Though the boats are now diesel, with computers and such, the life of the fishermen hasn't changed overmuch.
They still follow the sea and look to the sky; they still follow the fish, and know how they'll die.
It's a love affair with the salt and brine, a mistress they'll follow till the end of time.
Their clocks are the tides and their weather's cloud told, and when all's said and done, the North Atlantic's still cold.

They still dip their flags when they pass by the spit, because Captain Seth is sleeping on it.
He hung tight with his ship, he never ceased manning the rails, he's the stuff of legends and many tall tales.
They say if you pass by on a moon shadowed night, you can still hear his voice saying: "Wrap them sails tight."
And "Can you smell them fish, Boys? Let's fill up that hold." Ah, Captain Seth, there's gold and then Gold.

As deep as fair waters, as wide as the sea was the size that his heart was reputed to be.
A true salty old dog, from grizzled head to his toe, though now twenty years gone, it just doesn't seem so.
Beyond the crooked hook of Massachusetts Bay, some ten nautical miles past Nantucket Cay,
is a spit of land, like a forgotten breath, where you'll find the essence of old Cap'n Seth.

40 lines
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