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Sep 2013
Ben Sanders sat in his final days
By his cottage, up on the bluff,
He’d spent his life as a rover, and
He said, ‘I can’t get enough!
The sea, the sea, the lure of the sea,
It whispers at my front door,
And calls to me, here up on the bluff,
‘Come down, come down to the shore!’’

‘But I can’t go down and I won’t go down
For I daren’t go down, you see,
Not since I was caught in the maelstrom
When the seabed beckoned to me,
My mate had clung to the mast, while I
Had lashed myself to the rail,
And he went down to the stony ground
Along with the yards and sail.’

‘I hear the sound in my ears still
The roar of the whirling pool,
I’d cried, ‘Let go of the iron chest,
But he’d not let go, the fool.
It was filled with gold and pieces of eight,
Dubloons and precious stones,
It carried him down to an awful fate
Is spread, all over his bones.’

‘But I clung on ‘til the turn of the tide
I could almost touch the ground,
My head was spinning, deep in the pool
As the ship whirled round and round,
But then the tide began to subside
And I said goodbye to Bjork,
For then the ship rose up to the lip
And popped right up like a cork.’

‘We’d sailed forever the Spanish Main
The ship, Bjork and me,
And searched the atolls of rocks and sand
Of the Caribbean sea,
We found the treasure that Blackbeard hid
In a shaft, six fathoms deep,
Then Bjork had pined for Norwegian lands,
Said, ‘What we’ve got, we’ll keep!’

‘The further north that we sailed, the sea
Grew surly in its ride,
The waves crashed over the foredeck and
They tossed us, side to side,
The squalls came in and the rain came down
And we had to reef the sail,
The water rose in the bilge, until
I thought we’d have to bail.’

‘But then one night it was flat and calm
And the water lapped below,
I heard the voice of a siren then
That whispered, sweet and low:
‘Come down,’ she said, ‘you can rest your head
And give up your earthly seat,
But lie instead on a seaweed bed
With a mermaid at your feet.’’

‘I think of Bjork on the ocean bed
Though I don’t know where he lies,
His bones are covered with precious stones
With two dubloons for his eyes,
I’ve never been back to the sea since then
For I fear it, more and more,
As still it whispers on moonlit nights
‘Come down, come down to the shore!’’

Ben Sanders sat in his final days
By his cottage, facing the sea,
He seemed remote, but a final note
That he wrote was left for me.
‘My days of watching the sea are done,
I think that I’ve had enough!’
And then he strode as the tide arose
And walked, right over the bluff.

David Lewis Paget

(Inspired by E. A. Poe’s ‘A Descent into the Maelstrom).
David Lewis Paget
Written by
David Lewis Paget  Australia
   Chris T, Terry O'Leary and ---
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