I be a common salty, once,
No captain's bars, did bear,
Yet blessed was I to venture,
Where few a skipper dared.
From steadfast crow's high perch
I watched the bright coast beacons wink,
Through a biting spray's December gale,
What goring shoals would sink.
For untold days I rocked atop
An oaken spar at length,
While wake and skies conveyed my eyes,
Lord Neptune's sullen strength.
Busy dogs, the mates and jacks
Bent hard to tasks below,
While toward the sky, with glass to eye,
My post waved to-and-fro.
First was I to e'er spot land,
My voice the first to yell,
Aye, first to sight the skull and bone,
And raise the warning bell.
"Thar she blows!" was oft my call
If viewed a breach, had I,
And "Friend or foe?!?" the question barked,
If strange sails split the sky.
But the moments that becalmed my soul,
As the swells ticked off my time,
Were star-filled nights, a bullion moon,
And the phosphorescent brine.
The darkest times were battlements,
When the ship groaned in its might,
But never dark, the eventide,
Sea and sky awash with light!
So rare, it was, to find this tar
On deck or down below,
And rarer still, did I abdicate,
My nest there in the crow.
Well, I'm adrift on shore now,
With brittle bones and gray,
Yet still my mind climbs up the mast,
To man my post and sway.
And when the gods task me,
To a new and heavenly crow,
I'll bend my gaze to the looking glass,
And give a hearty "Tally-ho!"