Embarkations

Embarkations

Embarkations the wind remembers
that blows against the harbour wall.
I am waiting for my true love,
but I cannot hear her call.
My memories are wave lashed,
my mariner days are done,
but still, I can see her,
her dark hair settled on her shawl.

A green parrot in a reed cage,
I brought back from south ocean islands
as a souvenir, a memento of my voyages,
with a sack of seed,
the wild jungle bird to feed.

I was to give it to my true love,
but they told me she had moved on,
gone to another shipping town,
further up the coast,
and she had wed a shepherd man.
So when I stumbled into my old tavern,
the landlord looked shocked at me,
thought I was a sailor ghost.
After all the waiting years,
my eyes red sore with tears were wet.
I gave to him the parrot,
told him to keep him as a pet.
So the locals feed him,
when they come in for a drink.
I sit and smile in my corner,
on fair memories I think.
I still wait for my true love
by the wave wet harbour wall.
I did not blame her to find another,
I was too far to hear her call.

Embarkations, elegies, exiles,
rumours never proven,
waves lash the harbour wall,
listen to the wind blow them,
the tales the sea has woven.

Do I tune into memories
or invent what I imagine?
Only the wind knows,
the waves that heave,
high vault the harbour wall.
The woman on the shore,
close to the wave fall,
the shell pools behind her,
if she turned her hooded head,
would she be pale with waiting
or smiling, to hear my call?

Leave takings, valedictions,
final parting pain.
Listen, you can still hear them
in the dry wind and the rain.

I’ll go walking with my true love
round the lanes of my sea shore town,
to see the ferries to the islands,
the old towers tumbled down,
and I’ll turn to see her smiling,
in her dress of autumn brown,
and she’ll tell me her story
round the lanes of my sea shore town.

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