The Sailor's Yarn - Poem by Herman Sequira
A sailor's yarn to me was spun,
When I was but a child;
I thought his story would be fun
I would not be beguiled.
His wrinkled face was etched with lines
Through years of wisdom gained,
And in his eyes were all the signs
His stories were not feigned.
But skeptics feel most tales are lies;
An inborn part of me.
What was not there before my eyes
Was not reality.
Yet still I listened, for I knew
His words would soon unfold
A tale I felt would be untrue,
But could my interest hold.
'It was a calm and blessed night
When we set sail, ' said he,
'A rowdy bunch, an awful sight
But brave men all, were we.
So listen keenly to me boy,
'Twill be hard to believe,
In this sad tale there is no joy
And much for us to grieve.
Fifteen of us on that fine ship;
The wind behind our sails.
We drank good rum, and wine did sip,
Took turns to weave tall tales.
That fateful night no moon did shine
Dark was the silent sea.
All were half-drunk from too much wine;
Save one, and that was me.
When suddenly, a shout we heard,
What could have gone awry?
We rushed to see what had occurred
To cause that fearful cry.
The midshipman in blood, lay dead,
Face down upon the deck.
There next to him, the poor lad's head
Was ripped from off his neck.
And then the horror that we saw
No words can e'er define.
We all stood petrified in awe,
Fear coursed through every spine.
Half-man, half-snake, with blood-red eyes;
On board was Satan's spawn.
'Twas then that we did realize
We might not see the dawn.
Though all brave men were on that ship
We ran, the truth to tell,
But drunken legs did naught but slip
And all my good mates fell.
The creature paused, perhaps to feast;
I knew then what to do.
My old harpoon could slay the beast
For many whales it slew.
And this, I have no shame to tell,
I hastily did pray,
If I must journey into Hell,
Don't send me Lord, this way.
I hurled that spear with all my might
And struck a fatal blow.
The good Lord joined me in that fight
And saved my life, I know.'
And as I smiled my skeptic smile
and bade this man goodnight,
'twas then I spied that thing so vile,
a sickening, frightful sight.
Upon a shelf, a tomb of glass
Displayed the creature's head;
It stared at me as I did pass,
As though it were not dead.
I fled that place, for I did fear
Not leaving mighty fast,
I'd take my leave of Earth right there;
That night would be my last.
For forty years I never spoke
This tale I heard, you see
I feared I'd be a skeptic's joke
And hear him laugh at me.
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