Wind scattered gulls duck and weave
the slanting sleet of a rising gale.
Dark domes are driving from the west
as we batten hatches and shorten sail.

White crested waves loom and break,
crushing us down, till we stagger free.
Rising in a welter of luminous jade
we take flight for the harbour quay.

Flung high we catch our way ahead.
Then driven violently down again
we yaw full reefed in tearing wind
to a rattling clack as halyards strain.

Driven headlong we strive to steer
till we claw to the headlands lee.
Now we release a few inches of sail
in full running flight, lifting free.

We strain and heave to lay our course
as a wave swept harbour bar appears
Sliding across it’s swirling surge,
at last we can escape from our fears

Gliding between great granite sides,
towering, between us and the squall;
In tremulous awe of Neptune’s power,
we lash fast to the harbour wall.

© John Watts 2017

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