The old salt

Poetry

As a salty sailor I’m a faulty danger.
I’ll wager you gave no thought to when in port, I’m known for my rowdy behaviour.
But on the high seas, brother please, if you get a disease it’s me that’ll save ya.
For I’m an able seaman, a bosun.
I’m blessed, chosen and know the ocean – and have to say, she’s a cruel mistress.
I can’t stand land, its motion leaves me with the fool’s sickness.
So… brave on the waves are where I’ll stay.
Chanting shanties in the ship’s tanty.
Like a rotten knave ’til I head to a watery grave.
You see… these verses and rhymes are throwaway.
If I find you stealing I’ll snap you back in the cargo bay like a stowaway.
Taking shots, big drams of rum down the barrel of a gun, snorting coke off a broken blade.
You see, there’s no way you can mess with me on these seas.
Watching you fighting nature at her extremes battered to your knees makes me pleased.
Cos you gotta earn your stripes as a salty sea dog.
You need to learn the ocean’s rhythm and be jaunty as the waves drop.
Then neck a few jars and navigate by the stars, from Port Royal to Cape Cod.
And respect the ocean’s power – Poseidon’s too, feared by many as the sea’s God.
If you don’t you’ll see where your safety goes, taking risks like that you’ll fast meet Davy Jones.
He’ll make you wish you were young again, wrapped up snug in baby’s clothes.
But you’re not and he’s mad as hell, right down to his crusted toes, out drowning sailors and breaking bones.
Yet that’s how it goes.
You start a wet whelk all wrapped in felt.
Then find your sea legs as your confidence grows.
And over time you begin to grin as the salt gets deeper under your skin.
You learn the ship’s ways and how to toughen up.
You’re known around town as the hard-as-nails deckhand made from rougher stuff.
But at some point you have to decide if enough is enough.
Do you go full salt and live your life at sea, married to the ocean like she’s your wife to be?
Or do you turn your back on it all and become a city boy?
Only you can decide.
Be ruthless when making that gritty choice.
So that’s it, my wisdom I’ve now imparted.
It’s time I returned to my nautical fiefdom, said goodbye and departed.
So good luck landlubber in whatever you do.
Maybe one day I’ll see you adrift at sea, in an ocean so vast it’s impossibly blue.

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