This epic sea poem is published in Book 2 of the Wanderings and Sojourns series “On Tropical Islands and Sparkling Seas” and posted here in serial form to celebrate the release of that book. A new episode of this saga, each comprising 10 verses, will be posted here each day for the next 12 days. The book is available at the link below and will soon also be available from Amazon and all e-book formats as well as being available to order from almost every bookshop in the world.
Angus Donald and the Gale
Part ONE (verses 1 – 10)
They put the word out quickly, soon as they received the news
The family from The Bluff could use a hand.
And all responded to that call regardless of their views,
For such as this they well could understand.
The ones who were in trouble were quite recent to the town
And hadn’t mixed with many up ’til then.
They’d money and position; somehow always seemed to frown
Upon the way the townsfolk lived their lives as fishermen.
They’d bought some land atop the cliff and built themselves a place
Ten times the size of any others there.
They’d never joined in anything the locals would embrace
And hardly a “good morning” would they share.
They had this fancy sailing yacht kept tied up at a pier
Away from all the fishing boats and such.
Their dock was fenced and gated making sure none ventured near.
So what the townsfolk knew about it wasn’t very much.
But on that stormy Sunday when the call went round the street
It seemed that every townsman had stood to.
That’s how they were, those fisher-folk, to everyone they’d meet
Regardless how they lived or what they’d do.
The constable told all who came the facts they’d need to know
In order to determine how to plan,
And when he asked for volunteers to see which ones would go
Despite the fearsome weather heard an “Aye” from every man.
Fergus always lead the town’s response to such a call.
He’d captained ships on nigh on every sea.
And Murdoch, with his powerful son, who knew more than them all
Of every rock and eddy, tide and lee.
And Scanlon from The Lookout, and old Baird from Outer Brae,
MacLauchlan, Tavish, Anderson and Cloy.
They all were seasoned sailors you could count upon to stay
Who’d worked and loved and lived upon the waters, man and boy.
There too was Angus Donald from The Moorlands to the west;
He’d always been a different kind of lad.
Was far more academic and ambitious than the rest
Though still he’d learned the fishing from his dad.
He’d gone to university and earned there a degree
But never seemed to fit when he returned.
And yet he kept his heritage of working with the sea;
Not fishing though, researching stuff to do with what he’d learned.
Since his dad drowned he took the boat where others never went,
And there he’d dredge or net, or sift or dive.
He’d pass so close to reef and rock to further his intent
Some reckoned just his luck kept him alive.
And then he’d take his samples home; his creatures, shells and slime;
And test, dissect and measure them, and write.
So often as he worked he’d seem to lose all track of time
And be there working tirelessly at dawning’s breaking light.
Yet still, with all the fishermen, he’d volunteered when asked
To help the folks now stricken by the gale.
But Fergus thought he wasn’t up to what they’d all been tasked
And told him he’d prefer him not to sail.
The family from the cliffs had left their dock the day before
Unknowing of the forecast all had heard,
And when the storm had hit them they’d not made it back to shore.
They’d lost their mast and fouled their prop had been the latest word.
Then Murdoch up and said he’d like young Angus in his crew
In case they had to search in near the coast.
He reasoned Angus worked the inshore reefs no others knew
Through channels that were never used by most.
And so it was they put to sea, old Fergus at the head,
With fourteen weathered boats set close astern.
And all in that flotilla were of wind and ocean bred
Each set to fight the storm and praying all would yet return.
Old Fergus led them downwind from the last position known
And had them spread out left and right in line,
And spaced them at a cable’s length and set the target zone
Then turned against the pounding sea and brine.
The grim faced skippers held their course; their crews the waters scanned
In hopes to sight their mark amidst the spray.
But after twenty windward miles they swung toward the land
And ran the line downwind, this time in closer to the bay.
For thirty miles they searched before they turned that line again,
Which brought them even nearer to the shore.
They hardly saw each other through the driving sea and rain,
And nothing of the yacht they’d come there for.
But then they saw the flare go up close under Craggy Head.
Old Fergus left the line to check it out.
He’d figured early on the sailboat’s radio was dead
So he then launched a flare to show there’s rescue boats about.
This epic sea poem is published in Book 2 of the Wanderings and Sojourns series “On Tropical Islands and Sparkling Seas” and posted here in serial form to celebrate the release of that book. A new episode of this saga, each comprising 10 verses, will be posted here each day for the next 12 days. The book is available at the link below and will soon also be available from Amazon and all e-book formats as well as being available to order from almost every bookshop on the world.