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. The book is available at the link below and 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 Three (verses 21 – 30)
As Murdoch kept the boat on station, sheltered in the lee,
Young Angus scaled that dark foreboding height
Until he’d clambered clear of where the solid sheets of sea
Could drag him from its surface, out of sight.
He made it to the summit, had to brace against the squall
Where wind and spray and rain became as one,
And bent toward his task now knowing he must give his all
And praying too his strength would hold until this job was done.
He edged along the ridge to where the yacht was now aground
And being smashed by every pounding wave.
And borne upon the keening wind he heard the fearsome sound
Of screaming from the kids he’d come to save.
He reached the crag above the yacht, uncoiled the length of rope,
And lashed a heavy stone to give it weight.
And running then on nothing but adrenaline and hope
He lowered it down the precipice, but feared he was too late.
The father then appeared on deck and took the rope in hand
And looked to where young Angus stood his ground,
And what then passed between them neither man would understand;
He tried to speak but no words could be found.
He reached into the cabin and was passed his frightened son
And tied the rope about his waist and chest.
And told to him as well he could the work that must be done
And lifted him as best he might, and Angus did the rest.
He heaved that lad full twenty feet above the breaking sea,
Then coiled the rope and took his shaking hand,
And worked back to the overhang above the sheltered lee
Where Murdoch and his son knew what was planned.
As Angus lowered the youngster down the skipper neared the wall
Just when the biggest wave came boiling through.
And as the bow came up young Angus let the youngster fall
Into young Murdoch’s massive arms who caught him square and true.
No time was there to undo knots; the rope was swiftly slashed
As Murdoch quickly worked the boat away.
And Angus coiled the rope again as waves and thunder crashed,
And eyes were stung and blinded by the spray.
He clawed along the ridge once more toward the boat below
And saw the dad and daughter waiting there.
So lowered the rope and watched the father ready her to go.
Inside her life vest he could see a sodden teddy bear.
He hauled the child with all his strength and raised her from the wreck
But, seeing her too weak to walk at all,
He cradled her against his chest, her arms about his neck,
And bore her and her bear toward the wall.
He struggled through the storm-whipped rain ‘till Murdoch came to view.
He lowered her down to meet him through the spray.
His arms now throbbed, his back was strained, his will though still held true,
Determined not to fail the ones in desperate need that day.
On weary legs he bent to face the fury of the gale
As lightening flashed in sheets of blinding light;
Knowing well just one slip and that maelstrom would prevail
And he’d be swept below to endless night.
Again he reached the stricken craft. Again he lowered the rope
To where the father lashed it to his wife.
He prayed she’d yet be strong enough to climb, for he’d no hope
Of hoisting her alone. She’d have to help him save her life.
The father helped her reach the rock and pushed up from below
As pieces of the yacht were smashed apart.
While Angus hauled she raised one timid leg a foot or so
And found a ledge from which her climb could start.
Crashing waves tried rolling her along that jagged wall.
The shards tore at her flesh; her blood ran free.
But as each trough would pass young Angus braced himself to haul
Until at last she’d climbed above that unforgiving sea.
Exhausted there upon the peak she fell, her spirit gone,
Young Angus had no strength to bear her weight.
He left her sobbing helplessly and turned to carry on
Though dreading that he may now be too late.
The yacht was smashed and broken, slipping lower with each wave.
The husband knelt defeated on the deck.
But Angus was determined not to lose a man this brave
Who saw his family first ashore while he stayed with the wreck.
This time though when he lowered the rope the sea tore it away
Which cost him all the time he’d left in stock.
And as the wreck slipped quickly down beneath the sea and spray.
The father desperately leaped toward the rock.
Miraculously he landed and was able to hang on
As merciless the waves broke on his back.
Young Angus looked down solemnly, his hope now all but gone,
But still he’d not be beaten, so he planned one last attack.