Matthew Flinders

Matthew Flinders

Matthew Flinders stands a statue
in the market square
in Donington, a village somewhere
in Lincolnshire.

Looks fine in his naval uniform,
seems proud to be him,
with his telescope and cabin cat
that he called Trim.

You may not have heard of his name before.
I had not, either.
Now I know he was the first explorer
to circumnavigate Australia.

He wanted his wife to sail away with him.
Was told she could not by the Admiralty.
They said, no, Matthew Finders,
that is forbidden by the laws of the sea.

Nine years she waited for his return,
heard the sea gulls cry,
until she watched his ship drop anchor,
its beauty hurt her eye.

Voyage out like Matthew Flinders,
navigate your path with map, compass and telescope,
not knowing where the tides will take you,
still master of your skills with sail and rope.

Here’s to the health of Matthew Flinders
who sailed far south to find new land.
Until the voyage is over,
may you do more than you first planned.

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