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 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 FOUR (verses 31 – 40)
The father’s strength was ebbing fast and no way could he climb,
Nor could his arms support him anymore.
Adrenaline was all he had to give a little time
Before his lifeless body washed to shore.
But when he was too weak to face just one more breaking sea
He felt another’s body at his side,
And turned to see young Angus braced and working stoically
Until he had the rope about both waists securely tied.
They hung together by that line that Angus had secured
To solid rock above them at the peak.
He’d found the strength to clamber down despite all he’d endured,
Though knowing that the odds were more than bleak.
The father had no strength or will to help with the assent.
Now Angus bore the brunt of every wave.
He wondered how much time there’d be before his too was spent
To ultimately die beside the man he’d come to save.
Though try with all he found inside he couldn’t bear the weight
Of both of them to lift them from the sea.
The father had accepted what he knew would be his fate
So told the younger man to cast him free.
But Angus was of stronger spirit, born of rock and tide
And raised on storm and hardship. He’d keep on
Until he knew each hopeless chance was well and truly tried,
And every final ounce of strength was absolutely gone.
But when he knew the storm had won he felt the line draw tight.
He looked up but he could not trust his eyes.
For Murdoch’s son was standing there to help him in his fight;
He felt his strength and spirit start to rise.
He let a wave roll by then lifted all that he could take
While Murdoch’s stalwart son took up the strain.
They gained a foot then braced against the next wave that would break.
They let it pass, then climbed once more, then braced and climbed again.
Though slow, they made that summit and were hauled to level ground
Beside the mother’s pale and trembling form.
They placed the father at her side. Though neither made a sound
They hoped each one might keep the other warm.
While both young men regained their strength young Angus asked his friend
Why had he come just when all hope was gone?
His dad had sworn no Murdoch clan would ever condescend
To let another fall alone if they could bear him on.
They’d figured it was too long since the second child he bore
So knew the task too tough for only one.
And so they’d driven back to where young Angus leapt ashore
And there young Murdoch leapt as he had done.
He’d climbed the jagged cliff face till he made the storm torn crest,
And fought against the howling wind and rain
Until he saw young Angus start to fail that final test.
Was then he saw the rope and so began to take the strain.
The young men looked about them at the couple where they lay
And saw within their eyes rekindled hope.
Young Murdoch helped the woman stand amid the wind and spray,
While Angus helped the man and coiled the rope.
Half carrying, half walking them they moved back to the lee,
Though resting twice to let them find more strength,
Until they reached the shelter where the trawler rode the sea.
Young Angus took the rope and slowly measured off a length.
He told them there was no-one now could catch them when they dropped;
For Murdoch’s son was with them at the wall.
His dad would have to drive the boat to hold her where she’d stopped.
They couldn’t risk an unattended fall.
He said he had to climb back down and try to get on board.
Young Murdoch, so much stronger, must stand fast
To ease them down the cliff face from that windswept ridge toward
The trawlers rising bow just when the highest wave rolled past.
The bigger man belayed the rope around a fissured crack
While Angus tied the end round his own chest.
Young Murdoch waved his father in and then took up the slack
As Angus started downward from the crest.
They watched the swells come rolling in ‘till Murdoch made it clear
Upon which one he chose to close the wall.
The bow rose up; the line was loosed as Angus, gripped with fear,
Pushed outward from the cliff to start his fall.
Young Murdoch though was trawler bred and handling ropes he knew,
So, skilfully, he gauged his friend’s descent.
Before the deck was hit he whipped an extra turn or two
Just as the trawler’s upward surge was spent.
Though hard, young Angus landed well and swiftly cut the rope,
Then grabbed the rail and headed for the stern
And climbed into the wheelhouse to the kids, now filled with hope,
And told them of their parents, trying to lessen their concern.