The Promised Land

We wait becalmed on an endless journey

across the deep blue sea.

Slack sailed and praying for a wind

to end our misery.
Each of us alone with thoughts

of where we would rather be,

knowing only that we are here;

and ‘what will be… will be’
Trapped like the rats in the bilges below

not thought of or treated better.

Press ganged to a life before the mast

with tales of rum and treasure.
The stories of fortune and of fame

now sunk in the depths of despair;

as days go by the tempers rise

with no wind to clear the air.
We set sail from Plymouth town

for Drake’s passage beyond the Cape,

no one dare speak to say the words

‘Turn back fore’ all’s too late’.
The captain lost in thought stands tall

a spyglass to his eye,

he scans the endless ocean…

with him ‘it’s do or die’.
He looks for wind- for white topped waves,

a sign to save us all….

“Lower the boats!” I heard him cry

“And pull towards that squall”.
“Come on now lads” the first mate shouts

“Or may God curse us all”

Six boats are out…the ropes spring tight

It’s… ‘‘Pull boys now with all your might’’.
We sailed for Valparaiso

on the fourteenth of July,

the year was sixteen forty two

and I was fit to die.
A wife was waiting at home that day

and not the mornings tide,

no chance to say my ‘fare thee well’

or see my children cry.
One hundred and fifteen souls aboard

make the Captain and this crew;

fifteen will die, one will be hung

before this voyage is through.
In three long years we should be home

no more to roam the seas…

If I have a wife standing on the shore

still waiting there for me.

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