Poetry: Lost at Sea

It’s Friday! This is the day where I share excerpts, short stories, poetry, or other bits of my writing with you. 

In my writing group, Author’s Tale, we had a mini-poetry prompt, Lost at Sea, and we were challenged to write a poem based on that theme. 

When we went to Chicago a few months ago, we visited Willow Creek Community Church and there was a poetic rendition of the book of Luke called This Is Jesus that left me absolutely breathless. We were able to meet Nick after service, where I embarrassingly fangirled at him AND he gave me his copy of his poem which I am going to frame and hang in my office as inspiration. 

I don’t know much about poetry and terminology, but I personally call this power poetry, because it feels so powerful and has the power to nearly change lives. It changed mine and the way I approach writing, especially poetry. I have written a few pieces in this style and I’m excited to share one with you today. 


As the sun threatens to peek over the horizon
We scramble about, trying to get our ties on
Heads up, necks craned, trying to keep our eyes on
The task at hand instead of out to sea
The captain’s the one to yell, first mate to repeat
Tighten this, loosen that, hoist and stay
Get ye ready boys, we’ll be on our way
Creaking of the hull, sloshing of the waves
Everyone at some point bows his head and prays
To the gods of the ocean, to keep chained the Kraken
For fair weather and favorable winds, so nothing bad will happen

The ship gently heaves, then hoes
Our hearts beat with the sea, wherever our ship goes
We honor the man who always and faithfully follows
The code laid out by those living on the ocean
Anchor aweigh, ship’s ahoy!
Travel these lonely waters, boys
With freedom carried in the salted sprays
And justice dealt swiftly, no delay
By the captain in charge of this rugged crew
Though also chooses to reward those who
Work the hardest, day and night through
And with that balance earns the respect of the men
In a way that no other human on the planet can

Hours pass by, toiling watch after watch at the wheel, the stern, the line
The bells tolling the continuing passage of time
We fall into the rhythm of the repetitive chime
We watch the sea and the sky give up their secrets
So that we can sail on with nary a regret
And even if we wanted to, we still couldn’t keep it
From doing what it wants
Best we can do is decide in our souls
That we don’t have an ounce of control
Over our maiden, the sea, she’s the one with the hold
And we’re just along for the ride

Ten days pass entirely without incident
But that is no strange, unheard of precedent
Nor does it incline any strange accident
To which we should be inclining our eyes
Or diligent to sniff out an unwanted surprise
But when the skies grow dreary and the air gets heavy
We know that it’s time to get ready
Move this here and move that there or take it down below
Bolt it to the deck if you can so that it won’t go
Overboard or break against the screaming gales
That can frighten even the biggest and toughest of nails
And reduce them to clinging to the rails
Screaming against the forces of Hell, which never fails
To reduce us all to our basest selves
And that part always comes out, and the pain it tells
Is common to every man, no matter what he sells.

The storm that blows up is the fiercest in years
And no matter how loud we yell, the only thing one hears
Is the howling of winds and pounding of the rains
Until the ship, tossed and turned, confirms our deepest fears
Shudders and shakes
And then quickly breaks
Apart into cracks and splinters, and it’s a scramble to make
It into a lifeboat to ride out the storm
Hoping we can stay alive until the morn’
When the sun will shine
And if we’re lucky and bide our time
We’ll be found alive
Instead of the loneliest way to die
Lost at sea


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