Wreck Of The Essex

(Sullivan) 2021

The gulls herald the dawn over the harbour
The night watchman puts out the lamps
Goes home and prays for a dreamless sleep
No ghosts returned from the past
No tiny boat lost in an ocean
Steered by his weakened hand
And forty-five days since the ship went down
Still two thousand miles from the land
A captain with the fortune of Jonah
And a ship that was sunk by a whale
And the endless ocean that rises and falls
And stretches on forever

On the sixty-ninth day Samuel Deeds groaned
And gave up his ghost to the wind
With the water and hard tack all but gone
They prayed that God might forgive them their sin
And the sky bled into the ocean
But the sun continued to rise
With salt and blood burned on their skin
They watched each other from sunken eyes
Then they drew lots for executioner
And lots for who was to die
Charles Ramsdell drew Owen Coffin, his friend
And after a while the shot was fired

After eighty-five days a ship found them
Just two hundred miles from coast
Two skeleton men in a scatter of bones
They never looked up
And now gulls herald dawn over the harbour
The night watchman walks home to his bed
To hide from the whispers and curses that fall
On men who return from the dead
On men who take life from the dead


Published by PRS/MCPS

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