Thursday, April 23, 2009


There is a sailor calling me,
ever, always,
towards the sea,

a shade who walks
a rotted deck,
the broken belly
of his wreck,

in the darkness,
fathoms deep,
restless in
a sodden sleep;

There is a sailor calling me,
some buried root
of ancestry,

forgotten or
perhaps ignored,
a scofflaw on
a rusted sword,

a rogue of
dubious career,
who plied his trade
reviled, revered;

There is a sailor calling me,
in swells of history,

an undertow,
a tidal urge,
to strain against
a rolling surge,

to clench the wheel,
face and fight
a typhoon at
her fuming height;

There is a sailor calling me,
who knows my name,
who says that he

can get a ship,
scare up a crew,
can tell a dead man’s
tale or two,

can anchor in
a quiet bay,
until I’m joined
with him one day;

There is a sailor calling me,
who claims there is
a banyan tree

that spreads above
a hidden plunder,
the spoils of
brigandry and thunder,

abandoned on
a clement shore,
uncharted still
and lost in lore;

There is a sailor calling me,
a siren song
of centuries,

a gale from
a vanished squall,
a hoarse and low
and constant call,

a voice that’s getting
hard to slight,
or blame on tricks
played by the night;

There is a sailor calling me,
ever, always,
towards the sea.


Catvibe said...

Wow, this gave me chills Joaquin! My first instinct is to ask you, are you going on a sailing trip? Although it is obviously so deep and full of lifelong desire to drift into that romantic enchanted place that the sea evokes. I love the sea-song-siren chant of this piece, it wants to be read aloud! I can almost hear it on the breeze now...

Julie said...

Oh, yeah! I love Thursdays, especially ones when I am home and can read your work. This poem rocks! You know I love the theme. I also love your storytelling talent. Wonderful details. The shade who walks on the rotted deck is perfect. He walks that restless ghostly walk and waits for the narrator to join him in the ship! I'll be back to read it many times.

Brosreview said...

This is haunting!!! Yea, as Catvibe pointed out, this one is more like a chant. Good job!!! Keep them coming!!!

Aniket said...

Lovvvvvvvveddd it!

Seriously there's a sailor calling me now after I read this.

My fav. part was..

"can get a ship,
scare up a crew,
can tell a dead man’s
tale or two,"

Kinda made me think of Captain Jack Sparrow. :D

This ones a keeper to be read again and again.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

This abounds with astounding vitality. Your craft and vision come together so seamlessly, that the story/poem unfurls naturally.

What a great theme - the call of the sea and a beckoning ghost sailor. I am thinking it's in your blood, matey - that longing for adventure & danger on the high seas!

Smacks of Poe and Stevensen.

Loved all the lines equally - but these were wonderfully eerie:
"...can anchor in
a quiet bay,
until I’m joined
with him one day;..."

Karen said...

This has such richness of both storycraft and form that I can't imagine this tale being told any other way.

The rhyme and rhythm --the sound of this-- is pure delight. The images are surprising and fresh, with each accumulating detail adding to the lure. The story as a whole of this other-worldly sailor, "...some buried root
of ancestry...," "submerged in swells of history" that pulls you to join him is incredibly compelling.

Oh, heck. I love it. Period. Fun and witty and funny and clever and a little eerie. AND it sounds good!!!!

(In the middle of writing this serious comment, I looked to the right and saw that heart award. It cracked me up!!)

You make Thursdays fun!

trooping with crows said...

Agree, agree, agree with everything said above.

I always wish I could get here before Mom, she has a way of saying things I wanted to! Like I thought it was very Poe-esque!

This is an epic poem with an epic theme! It feels like it was written ages ago and that the actual pirates were singing/reciting it. Like you found it rolled up in an empty bottle o' rum on a distant shore.

This poem is adventurous, yet also I found it to be sort of melancholy. There's that longing-ness to it. It's a great one, Joaquin, for sure.

Jannie Funster said...

Ar-matey - me loved this one!

There is a sailor calling me too, always.

His name is three-eyed Joe.

He's from my mother's wild side, of course.

Little Girl Lost said...

Joaquin, i read this poem and then i read it again, the second time aloud...
this was such an amazing experience, it's like it stirred something inside me, a hidden bit that belongs to the sea.

There is a sailor calling me,
who knows my name,
who says that he
can get a ship,
scare up a crew,
can tell a dead man’s
tale or two,
can anchor in
a quiet bay,
until I’m joined
with him one day

those were my fovourite lines.

its so wonderful that the sailor is calling you on a treasure hunt... please take me along if you decide to go ...

i love thursdays too :)
and come read my story...

RachelW said...

This is great! I've got to read this one out loud to my kids; it has that kind of appeal.

sexy said...


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Sarah Hina said...

You should follow that call. I think it's coming from within.

I loved the build in this one, like the call is muffled, but getting ever louder and more persistent. A wave rolling toward its shore. There is something so hypnotic and mysterious about the sea. Even with all of our songs and legends, we will never plumb its depths.

Beautiful, enticing words, Joaquin, with your usual smoothness and dexterity of language. You make us feel the tug and longing, too.

joaquin carvel said...

cat - i'm not planning a sailing trip - but one never knows ;) thank you - i think growing up around it made it a part of me - if i don't see it for a while i notice.

julie - it's funny - i was working on this when i first read "the net mender" (i swear i smelled brine when i read that), which made me want to get this right even more. thank you for making my thursdays rock with your comments!

bros - thank you - the chantiness of it just kind of happened - but it felt right :D

aniket - don't trust him - they're notorious liars. glad you liked it, though - thank you - i was a little worried about the cap'n jack effect - but i think he's come to personify the swashbuckler. though i did change a line about rum because it made me think of him, and i wasn't trying to think of him. if that makes sense.

k. - you floored me with that - and now, more than ever, i think you need to write the forward, or at least the dust flaps, if i ever publish a book. (don't start just yet. nobody's knocking down my door.) thank you, deeply. (i almost called it "o capstan, my capstan" - but it's a fine line between homage & insult :))

karen - thank you! so happy you climbed aboard and enjoyed the ride. the eerieness was kind of an accident too but i liked how it made me wonder what i meant. and your comment put a huge smile on my face.

troop - there will never be too many people telling me something is poe-esque. :)) i love the note in bottle idea - and i think you're right, there is a kind of longing in it - which i am going to say was totally intentional so that i don't sound like i have no idea what i'm doing.

jannie - thanks! "three-eyed joe" sounds like a song for you (and the tambourine lady and the piano guy.)

lgl - thank you...i am beginning to think it does kind of want to be read aloud. and if i do go, i'm sure he won't mind if we swing over to india first...

rachel - wow - how awesome is that? thank you...i'd love to hear what they thought of it!

sarah - you are so right - "we will never plumb its depths." - it is endlessly fascinating. thank you - i may follow it yet.