Jerry's Cruising Poems

Night Watch

The bowsprit leads down a moon‑silvered path
As we sail to a coconut isle.
The trade wind is soft, starlight twinkles down,
The ancient sea gods seem to smile.

The sails are all pulling, the wind vane controls,
Not much for a helmsman to do
But savor the ride through an enchanted night
Whose beauties are seen by so few.

The full moon is yellow, the compass glows red,
All else is a study in grays.
I'm wearing my foulies to ward off the chill –
So odd after tropical days.

The bow cuts the waves with a gurgle and splash
While the wake streams behind with a hiss.
No storm in our forecast, no squall looming near,
I look but see no other ships.

My love in the cabin is snug in her quilt,
Breathing deeply, immersed in a dream.
She baked chocolate cookies for me on her watch,
So I nibble as tea water steams.

A flying fish flops near a scupper on deck
And I flip it back into the sea.
Tomorrow we'll troll for a tuna again,
Or maybe catch mahi‑mahi.

The night wind brings memories of family and friends
Left behind on the land far away,
Other cruisers we've met, special places we've seen,
And the good times we've had on the way.

I wonder what waits on the atoll ahead:
Will the entrance be easy or hard?
Will the locals be friendly, just leave us alone,
Or force us to put up our guard?

What other boat anchors will hold near our own –
Will old pals be there when we land?
Will we make new friends, ashore or afloat,
And stay there much longer than planned?

It's sure to be different, but somewhat the same,
As places we've been to before.
We'll see all the sights, and talk to the folks
Who make their homes there on the shore.

We'll taste their good bread, and share some good rum,
And walk in the shade of the trees,
But finally, raising our anchor and sails
And waving good‑bye, we will leave.

The moon will set soon in the beckoning west
While a planet shines over the deep.
When the pale light of dawn makes the stars disappear
My night watch will end, and I'll sleep.

We live on the ocean – just visit the land –
And there's no place that we'd rather be
Than here in our boat on a wonderful night
Sailing peacefully over the sea.

Published in the Commodores’ Bulletin of the Seven Seas Cruising Association, December 2009