Read Poem: THE HORSE LATITUDES, by James Grayford

With full berth and tethered sail I ventured on consignment
To cross high tide in heavy wind for sympathetic climates
My crew agreed to navigate the Austral Seamount Chain
Negotiate the Cape Of Horn and Polynesian Bay

Tribulation seized us in the Equatorial Current
Leaden sky, gale force wind, wall of sea like turrets

The first to fall, our medic, followed by my sextant
Crucial to the nauticals of any expedition
Next the sea claimed tragic men strung upon the mast
Pitched them through a tempest with an icon’ s fervent wrath

Abdication calmed the beast, roaring in respite
Content with soulful mariners, kindled by their lives

The sea, my only mistress, exotic, without fault
Faithful as her trade wind belts, loyal as her calms
The sea, my jealous temptress, struck at me in vain
When I sailed upon her tide pursuing fiscal gain

3 years volunteered earned Midshipman rank
A decade passed, ambition grasped the chance to re-acquaint
The need to heed desire’s seed, wealthy Alderman’s daughter
Product for sale, short shelf life, across uncharted waters

Paternal loans secured, my ship sailed out to sea
Where faithful men held sway upon windbound geography

The sea, my gentle temptress, exotic, full of splendor
Luring me with fantasies of sensual adventure
The sea, my elder mentor, filled me with ambition
When I sailed upon her tide with hope, longing, conviction

More desirable than silver, more valuable than gold
The consignment stock remained unharmed deep within the hold
Ten days since our reckoning the sky still gave us pause
Behind its charcoal canopy hid the Southern Cross

No wind to stir the sails, no star to guide the ship
In lieu of maritime allegiance my vessel lay adrift

The sea, my spiteful mistress, righteous in degree
Vengeful as her distant wind, shallow as her streams
The sea, my wicked temptress, burdened me with strife
When I failed to heed the beacon in her turning tide

Luck had not foreseen the storm, fortune held no sway
Nor would the sea concede envy to its helpless prey
Promised compensation, benefit to forget
Desperation filled my crew with a fool’s regret

Portions turned to rations, fear to destiny
Ship leaks in the hold, nearing mutiny

The sea, my angry widow, under your enthrall
Lead me to your gentle breeze, fury, transom, squall
The sea, my wicked jury, judgment pardon me
For I surrender to your deadlight infamy

The first to fall the Shires, workers, taught with length
Next, the wild Pintabian, known for speed and strength
Afternoon drew down the sun, horses fled the hold
Halfinger and Clydesdale, submerged to lighten load

Sacrificial sacrament, equine drowning near
Brought the wind once again with force enough to steer

The sea, my gracious savior, righteous in degree
Traded survival for a promise of economy
The sea, my elder mentor, tutored me condition
Never barter life while sailing her rendition

– James Grayford

About poetryfest

Submit your Poetry to the Festival. Three Options: 1) To post. 2) To have performed by an actor 3) To be made into a film.
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