Cresting the Ninth Wave

commonssail

 

 

 

 

 

 

When evening sky foreshadowed certain night
I’d tighten sail to strike for harbour wall,
I feared the dark – had seen its evil rites
And shrank from its hallucinating thrall.
On Dante’s chart I once steered to life’s rim
Where dark sea fiends and beasts by Hydra bred
Brought thoughts of death without a lover’s hymn
Alone, as sad regrets dirged low instead.
I fought Beelzebub where swart tides run,
Mephisto’s breath befouled the air around;
To dull the pain I poured more amber rum,
Dire liquids deep are sea and grog – both drown.
For haze of days I drifted weak, deranged
As Sirens promised peace in Neptune’s bed
But Instinct cast a line – I grasped. Redeemed!
Though thoughts of future’s charted course brought dread.
My rescue then a chance for change, I must
Appraise the steering of my life before;
I learned if heart was healed of succubus,
Satanic thoughts would trouble psyche no more.
So now when prow aims towards horizons dark
I welcome night, to blanket grateful day;
I smile aloft at stars bright guiding cirque,
My glad heart warms and speeds towards promised day.

62 thoughts on “Cresting the Ninth Wave

  1. This is excellent, Mike, astoundingly good. It summarises life perfectly. A literary beauty! I have posted a link to it on my Twitter account. It has been a long time since I’ve read something like this, it’s like a breath of fresh air for the mind. Love it :)

  2. within each line a story seems to be waiting behind a curtain
    for a call to step out of the shadows…
    this was an intriguing work of art spun from a wordsmith
    I like the thought of cresting the ninth wave…magaickal number
    Take Care Mike…You Matter…
    00(
    maryrose

    • Thank you. This one was special so I appreciate your visit all the more. Yes I have been fortunate to get adopted by some serious talent. And you’re continuing this run of good fortune.

  3. This is indeed what the poem says. What is means is slightly different – the voyage is a metaphor for a period of the narrator’s life but he’s quite stubborn and reluctant to elaborate further. I’m delighted and flattered that you took the time to carry out this practical analysis and thank you for your kind comments. I can also happily assure you that the narrator now enjoys fair-weather sailing on all 7 seas.

  4. scribblegarabato says:

    I think that as the poem develops its plot the narrator, which is in first person singular, experiments a transformation or a metamorphosis. In the beginning he fears the dark but doesn’t give up and fights its evils. His fight is not only a physical one, but a mental one. At the end of the poem he is victorious he has won the fights and is no longer afraid of the dark (night); he knows that after the night day will come:
    “I welcome night, to blanket grateful day;
    I smile aloft at stars bright guiding cirque,
    My glad heart warms and speeds towards promised day.”

    What a way to end the poem, with beautiful metaphors that create a resolution and makes the reader believe that the protagonist will have better days.

  5. My goodness, I’m impressed. As though I were transported to the nineteenth century (except there’s a computer glowing in front of me). And I must sigh at the loneliness and corresponding resolve you convey, so fitting in these cold winter nights.

  6. Just finding your writings now Mike really looking forward reading and re-reading, I was part of pirate radio broadcasting on land back in the 1980’s. Many thanks for your critique of my “scribbles” your waywith words far and away out weigh anything I put up for posterity!!
    Chris.

  7. “When evening sky foreshadowed certain night
    I’d tighten sail to strike for harbour wall,
    I feared the dark – had seen its evil rites
    And shrank from its hallucinating thrall.”
    My favorite part is what I quoted above,

    You managed to create an amazing tapestry of words. Beautifully written poem.

  8. So many times peices like this have too much flush and not enough concept, yours however has a depth and awareness in its own words, not words for words sake. This held me and made me read because I wanted to not because I should. Thank you for your care with language, too often its abused and yet you seem to revere it, a rarity.

    • I am indeed in love with the language and you are actually the first person to pick up on this in a long time. Your observations in their entirety are especially valued because they show me that you have focused on the core components of the piece. I thank you for your perspicacity.

  9. Very Keatsian. Your ability with structure is evident in the formal aspects of this poem, but also in the arc of the narrative. I’m enjoying the mish-mash of classical references–how it makes the speaker seem more like a reader of myths than a mythological hero. I am a little curious what’s going on behind the references, though. Especially toward the end, where there are hints that this is a metaphor for a larger experience.

    • I eventually decided to accept your first two words and you should know that I don’t believe they’ll ever be far from my mind whenever I look at this piece. As for your astuteness, note the categorisation and accept that I have never commanded a sailing vessel :)

  10. I love the imagery here… a lot was said on so many levels.
    I really like the line:
    “My rescue then a chance for change, I must
    Appraise the steering of my life before;
    I learned if heart was healed of succubus,
    Satanic thoughts would trouble psyche no more.

    Nicely written. You have a new follower!

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