Michael Cullup

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from MATELOT

It's cold.
We stand, about twenty men,
watching the dark.
The searchlight plays in the rocks.

Suddenly, there's the boat,
headed back towards the ship
plunging and swinging,
beam on
then headed to wind.
The coxswain, stiff as a ramrod,
holds her on course.
Her crew hang on.

The rough seas throw her towards us.
The crew hold her off,
Gubby quick on the throttles.
Again, she towers above us.
Again, she plunges away.
But when it's right,
a crewman is hauled aboard.
Next to last, Gubby,
and last of all the coxswain.

When the boat is in, and lashed,
I still stand there,
amazed.
My sight is blurred with tears.
Far down below me
the engines thud again.
We slew out to sea,
headed into the weather.


  


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