|Jerry's Cruising Poems|
The show was pure excitement, paced by fast Cook Island drums,
But near me in a corner was a fellow looking glum.
He didn't even notice as the dancers whirled their hips,
Just stared morosely into space and lifted beer to lips.
He wore old faded denim clothes, a ring adorned one ear,
It was a salty cruiser who was drowning sorrows here.
All through the lively, sexy show he seemed to ponder doom,
So when the drummers took a break I asked about his gloom.
He fixed me with a bleary eye which nearly shed a tear,
Then raised his glass with shaking hand and finished off his beer.
He wiped his brow and heaved a sigh, then turned to me and gave
This story which revealed his plight as superstition's slave.
"I always check out one day and then leave at next sunup,
But never leave on Friday ‘cause they say it brings bad luck.
These rules have always worked before, but now they make me stay.
Can't leave the Cooks for Tonga, just a four-day sail away.
I never check out Friday ‘cause that luck might be bad too.
I play it safe when cruising. Nothing foolish will I do.
Don't clear on weekends either ‘cause my budget isn't large,
And when officials work those days it's "overtime" they charge.
Now if I checked out Monday, planning Tuesday morn to leave,
Arrival would be Saturday - I'd have to pay big fees.
I can't depart on Wednesday ‘cause on Tonga's flag's a cross.
No one arrives there Sundays but their preachers and the lost.
So Thursday is the only chance to leave here on my way,
But Tonga's o'er the dateline, so our Thursday's their Friday!
Each day presents a problem. There's no day for me to clear,
And so I sit here in the Cooks and drink a lot of beer."
I said few words of sympathy, but bought another round,
Then left him to his tortured thoughts as drums resumed their sound.
Perhaps he's stuck there even now - won't question old beliefs -
A simple sailor hard aground on superstition's reefs.
Published in “Commodores’ Bulletin” of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, October 2003