THE LONGEST WATCH

 

I watched from the shore as the tugboat went by
The pilot was smoking in my mind’s eye
To the boat he was meeting I knew what he’d say.
Though he was a half mile or better away,
I knew just what he would say.

One whistle or two, does it matter to you?
I can meet you either way
The water here’s deep, we could pass in our sleep
But we’ll try that on some other day

I see a man on the beach, no pole within reach
he must be looking for shells
He is probably thinking how easy we have it
That these boats can just steer themselves

I doubt he’s a boatman, retired to dry land
watching us ply our trade
When my workdays end I’ll trade the ocean
for a view from a mountainside glade

Like you out there, I’ve sat in that chair
and thought of me standing here
I thought like that before hanging my hat
I would step on the dock and never look back

Bouys and beacons, the evening sun’s meetin’
the red western edge of the sea,
Mona Lisa-smile dolphins, bemused gliding pelicans
are now only memories to me

Of these things and more still I’d had my fill
I looked forward to life on the hill
No more engine noises nor friends’ radio voices
Miss that? I said I never will

Here I stand, to this hard ground now bound
And I’ve ruefully found
It’s no easy matter to give up the waters
of the bays, the lakes, and the sounds

Go on, young man, sail as long you can
For good health be full of thanks
Make way and make waves, horizon carefully scan
for we all end up on the bank

Look at that guy, is that a tear that I spy?
Did he just shrug and sigh?
Too late to see, he’s gone over the levee
Lord, how I wish I was he,
A man turning his back on the sea.

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One response to this post.

  1. What a gift, guy! You promised to answer my question, and this is it, in wrapping paper.
    Ok, at least the feelings part. I’m thinking that knowing anything intimately and exhaustively, my experience at least. yields an unavoidable mix of both pride and ‘worry’? “Yeah, I could still do dat?” you repeatedly ask yourself. “Sure, just give me the floor-plans, or ‘plug in the instruments, turn on the mike.’ Or even “only 19? Well, so am I; this might be a long torrid night, dear!”
    Anyway, back to poetry; the rhythm here is good. Any poem I sing while I read, as with this one, gets what we called on Xanga a ‘Rec’. Yeah, I miss that too. Spent a fruitless half hour last night even trying to remember yer screen-name there. Mel-something.
    I guess one way out of the anxiety of backing out of a profession is to realistically put oneself into a ‘starter’ position, mentally, in the current climate. Our music milieu back then was racy, sweaty, live, carnal, and primal. No time for texting and uploading promos to some goddamn U-toobe site and waiting for ‘likes’.
    I’m sure there’s a parallel in the rub-a-dub-dub 3 men in a tub racket.
    Thanks from the heart for inspiring deep thoughts, bro

    Reply

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