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 Two (verses 11 – 20)
Then Fergus saw another flare to guide the rescuers on,
And cautiously he edged toward its light.
But when he saw the turmoil where that stricken boat had gone
He felt the storm had surely won this fight.
The yacht was at the mercy of the gale forced wind and sea,
Its mast and shrouds hung tangled over side.
So close upon the breaking rocks that family seemed to be
He knew to try to reach them would mean more men would have died.
He radioed the others there was nothing they could do.
They’d found what they were seeking just too late.
Was then that Murdoch’s trawler through the storm came into view,
Right when old Fergus sealed that family’s fate.
“There’s no way in to save ’em, boys.” The saddened Fergus said.
“I’ll risk no man to try to do so now.”
Was then young Angus saw the rocks and put aside his dread
And said to Murdoch “There’s a way, and I alone know how.”
“If you’ll just let me guide you we can pass down to the east
“To where I harvest barnacles and kelp.
“That channel runs much deeper there, those currents run the least.
“I know those folk are not beyond our help.
“We’ll not be windward of those rocks, we’ll come in from behind,
“And use them to provide us with a lee.
“The entrance though is tricky and the corners there are blind.
“You’ll have to forgo caution and just put your faith in me.”
And Murdoch looked upon this man who hadn’t half his years
And wondered if these words were brash or wise.
Then looked upon those jagged rocks but overcame his fears.
And said “They never wins that never tries.”
Despite old Fergus’ countermand he steered that youngster’s course
And found that hidden deeper channel’s mouth
And using both the engine then and nature’s furious force
He spun that boat between the rocks and headed to the south.
The angry sea broke mightily upon those jagged teeth
That seemed to want to tear that boat apart.
And more than once they felt the hull scrape hard the rocks beneath,
But Murdoch stood his ground with pounding heart.
Young Angus yelled the lay lines that the skipper had to steer
And called each rock and reef and shoal and bar,
Until the channel widened and the yacht they sought was near,
But Murdoch felt no ease because he feared they’d come too far.
The sea inside was calmer, though it still ran pretty rough
With breaking crags and banks on every side.
But Angus knew that channel well and Murdoch knew his stuff;
Between them they survived that treacherous ride.
And now they saw the sailboat was to windward of the reef
That gave to them some shelter from the waves.
That she’d yet kept from smashing on the rocks defied belief,
But Murdoch reckoned still they’d all yet find their watery graves.
“That boat is lost!” He yelled above the wind’s relentless wail.
“There’s absolutely nothing we can do.”
And Angus said he knew that when he’d seen her through the gale.
They hadn’t come for her, but for her crew.
“It matters not.” Yelled Murdoch. “For their fate is yet the same.
“They’ll all be smashed and broken by the sea.”
But Angus said he knew a way; the reason why he came.
“I brought you safely this far; will you finish this with me?”
He pointed to a rocky wall where wind and sea combined
To carve out several ledges over time.
And told of many niches there and fissures he could find
That made it not so hard for him to climb.
Then pointed to an overhang at one end of that bluff
That jutted many feet out from the wall,
And said he thought the trawler could be brought in close enough
To catch someone that’s lowered there if he controlled their fall
When Murdoch saw the younger man begin to shed his gear
And coil, then tie a line about his waist.
He told his son to help him, though his heart was filled with fear,
Not knowing what new challenges he faced.
Old Murdoch steered the boat in close then waited for a wave
To give the trawler’s bow some extra height.
Then Angus leapt toward the wall, more foolish there than brave,
To land upon those jagged rocks and hold with all his might.
That wave crashed hard upon him as he desperately hung.
He hardly could maintain his tenuous grip.
The next one though was bigger yet, but frantically he clung.
Still Murdoch saw his feet begin to slip.
But as the wave receded he stretched a blood stained arm
And grabbed again, though higher now this time.
And though he was convinced this gallant man would come to harm
Old Murdoch quietly prayed and watched him slowly start to climb.