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To the Ocean Wild May 17, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Poetry & Humor.

To the Ocean Wild

for my late father, by the Rambling Man
(written only today)

Under a keel that bore the weight of a treasured ship
is how I remember you;
happiest while freeing planks of last year’s paint;
In old jeans and a splattered cap and a shirt past it’s best
you call to me for water or turpentine or some damn thing

I see you rise, red faced, from both sun and toil
and watch your failing limbs climb carefully the homemade steps
and we crank the engine, me never knowing when to let the lever go.

You are gone now and so is she … to the Ocean Wild
wherever you sail I hope that she is with you;
your treasured ship – and me.



1. Laurie - May 17, 2007

that is moving, and sad, and it brings to mind images of my own dad when he was dying, even though he was not a boat guy. nice touches like “or some damn thing” and “your failing limbs.” it made me catch my breath. well done. and i’m sorry for your loss.

2. kav - May 18, 2007

Your description is surprising to me – it’s almost exactly like how I think of my grandad. My condolences to you.

3. Rambling Man - May 18, 2007

thanks guys
my dad died in 1996 and it still hurts some days. i’m not one to mope about over it but that just came out yesterday.

4. Rambling Man - May 18, 2007

ps the ‘ocean wild’ was the name of his boat

5. Coastal Aussie - May 18, 2007

Beautiful poem, and a terrific name for a boat. My Dad bought a small sailing boat, named her Gypsy, but never got her going before he pasted away. Your poem brings back lovely memories though -especially of me wearing his old shirts when I’d go out to help him (actually, I just chat and pass him things) fix something.

6. Rambling Man - May 18, 2007

yep thats all i did too – i could never get excited about stripping paint or varnishing railingsmuch to his surprise ! he had a smaller boat that got wrecked and it was called ‘pandemonium’ which is also a cool name. thanks for the comment.

7. Kathlyn - May 19, 2007

your poem made me cry it was lovely and it brought back some great memories
I remember a young leggy lad reluctantly helping his father hoping that the day of “launch” was imminent and enduring all the scraping and painting ( was ther ever a boat with such precise lines?) with the eager anticipation of that first trip out around the harbour, and then bringing her back in to moorings that had been secured in the gloopy mud ,( with its newly painted bouy bobbing about when tide came in.) Those were the days when i wore a path to the quay or ran nervously to the garden with binoculars to see The Ocean Wild skimming through the waves and a small curly head at the helm and only relaxed when i heard the clatter of feet and accompaning smell of mackerel coming through the back door…Is the pan ready !!!

8. Rambling Man - May 19, 2007

thanks mother …
(see, I knew you knew how to comment !)

9. Sinead - May 24, 2007

Beautifully written – thank you for sharing these precious memories…

10. Rambling Man - May 25, 2007

thank you sinead

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12. The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam « The Rambling Man - December 18, 2007

[…] the things we remember from childhood.  My dear departed father made me learn these lines by heart when I was very young and delighted in showing me off in my […]

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