David Lewis Paget
The Isle Of Nevercombak - Poem by David Lewis Paget
There's an island out in a distant sea
Way off from the beaten track,
It's a tiny island, seven by three
And it's known as Nevercombak,
Most of the island is woods and trees
With a river that flows from the hill,
It trickles down in a steady stream
To end in a rippling rill.
There's just one beach on the western side
And that is littered with ships,
They struck the reef at the lowest tide
While sailing into the mist,
The island's not on a map or chart,
It can't be seen from the air,
And sailors speak of the hidden cliffs,
And mutter, ‘Never go there! '
The crews that managed to swim ashore
Were left on the beach alone,
And pterodactyls had picked them off,
All that is left are bones,
These ancient birds lived high in the trees
And swooped when you turned your back,
They say that nothing survives that moves
On the Isle of Nevercombak.
Our trawler pitched in the heavy seas
As we made our way through the mist,
We shouldn't have strayed so far to the east
But the captain would insist,
The tide was high and the moon was nigh
But we couldn't see clear ahead,
And suddenly we were high and dry
And lucky that we weren't dead!
We'd landed up on an island beach
And the cliffs loomed into the sky,
The others walked on the beach that night
But I stayed where it was dry,
They'd only travelled a hundred yards
When I heard the flapping of wings,
A squawk, and then a terrible cry
That froze the blood in my veins.
A bird had carried the captain off
Its claws dug deep in his back,
I heard him scream, and the others cried:
‘God help our Captain Jack! '
Their screams attracted some other birds
And they took each man apart,
I hid in the trawler wheelhouse,
Cowered in fear, and faint of heart.
It rained as if it would never stop
And it spread their blood on the beach,
I thought that I should bury the bones
But the bodies were out of reach,
The tide came in and a sudden surge
Was spinning the trawler round,
I felt it floating beneath my feet
And I prayed for that diesel sound!
I prayed for that diesel sound, I said
As I pushed the button to start,
The Perkins sprang into instant life
I was making way to depart,
The trawler sluggishly headed out
Past wrecks and reefs and swell,
I wouldn't have sweated so much out there
If the skies and the heavens fell.
The birds came out of the driving rain
Attacking the wheelhouse roof,
I heard a splintering sound that came
As they tore, one stood aloof,
He sat and stared through the window pane
With a cold and evil eye,
While I stared back, a million years
Had evolved, and passed him by.
They finally left me alone at sea
So scared, so tired and cold,
I knew that I could survive out there
With a ton of fish in the hold,
I looked behind at the deepening mist
That shrouded the Isle in black,
And swore an oath as I clenched my fist,
‘I'll never, Nevercombak! '
13 February 2013
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