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Triangle Isle

by Mike Florian

Up the mast of the ship I did scramble
Where seaward I saw far and wide.
On decks down below the crew ambled,
Brass fittings they polished with pride.

After months of boredom at sea
With storms, fog and monsters behind,
Homebound we were like a bee
Our families and lovers to find.

As I barely clung while atop
To work on the lines that were tangled,
The Old Man yelled up, “Just stop,
Son. Can you see the green isle Triangle?”

I looked to the west with a squint,
The sunlight shone harsh in my eye.
A triangular green massive flint
Appeared ’tween sea and the sky.

“Ahoy, Cap,” I yelled down below,
“I see the Isle that you said.”
But inside I felt truly low
For Triangle’s the Isle of the Dead.

Many sailors o’er the years steered clear
Of that green rock the Old Man holds dear.
’Twas his white whale and white albatross,
’Twas there that he won and he lost.

“Avast and ahoy,” said the Mate.
“Turn hard to port and go broadside.
You’re sailing to the black lady Fate,
To Triangle’s dark, rocky far side.”

The old scow shuddered to lea
As she turned with the pull of the sail.
All hands were confused at the sea,
All faces took on a ghost pale.

This ship they called the Black Demon
Lurched forward with waves from the aft.
Steering was a single-eyed helmsman
That the crew knew well to be daft.

“I said south,” yelled the skipper once more.
“Hold the course more tightly a wee.
Fear not the welcoming shore,
We’re not willing to swim in the sea.”

The captain, a man of the ocean
Was easily around the world thrice.
He survived on guts, not a potion,
He paid a lonely man’s price.

’Twas he who took the Eclipse a-sailing
Round the Horn with an earring aglow.
When all hands save himself had gone missing,
To Puerto Montt by himself he did row.

He, too, sank the ship, the Good Partner,
A ship as strong as a whale.
He ran it aground on “The Altar”
And its cathedral-like rocks, in a gale.

Tales about the Old Man abound
When deckhands sit circling the galley.
They talk when they drink ales around,
They talk on the hill and the valley.

Now the Demon ran reaching at twilight
Towards the green triangular isle.
The skipper said he knew of a bight
Where he said he would anchor a while.

The Captain whose age was near fourscore,
Whose name be Joachim Stone,
Was tired of seeking a home shore,
Was tired of the sea life alone.

He missed having love, having young ones,
He missed having supper at home.
He thought that the many fish tons
Brought money and fame, all forlorn.

Skipper Stone was so heavily hearted
That he cared not for his crew.
He wished from this life to be parted
And he’d take the ship down the deep blue.

The men saw the rocks and were fearful
But continued to believe in the Stone.
They knew the skipper was careful;
They trusted they weren’t alone.

The Demon creaked heavily to shoreward,
The Captain resigned to his fate.
The crew strained their necks to look forward
Never thinking that now it’s too late.

“Stay south, “ yelled Stone one time more.
“But, Skipper, there’s rocks up ahead.
There’s no time till we’re crashed on the shore,
There’s no time till all will be dead.”

The man Stone looked down at the crew,
At the men that were now in a fix.
Again, just to himself he was true,
This Triangle Isle was his Styx.

As the Black Demon hurled to the shoreline
Stone saw a red slash of sun.
Between clouds, canvas, and sail lines
A new hope in his heart had begun.

He saw the men’s faces and wives,
He smelled the scent of the shore.
He saw seals and birds all alive,
He sensed after eighty there’s more.

“To starboard to starboard,” he shouted,
And the Demon did creak and did groan.
“We’re not going to join the departed,
I’m not in this venture alone.”

Many sailors o’er the years steered clear
Of that green rock the Old Man holds dear.
’Twas his white whale and white albatross,
’Twas there that he won and he lost.

Copyright © 2012 by Mike Florian

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