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Tinka Boukes

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Nantucket Sleigh Ride
by Tinka Boukes

Sunday, March 26, 2006
Rated "G" by the Author.
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~Nantucket Sleigh Ride~

(Whaler’s Lament Part III)


Our longboat was pulled along a darkened sea

We, like ghosts of whalers before, were mounted upon our splintered seats

The whale pulled us windward with a tremendous hate

Its tail flung water in several white-capped waves

And they smashed upon us, as-to taunt and hamper;

Alone the whale swam, on a mission of its own

Pulled us, pulled us – through the dark and wet

As we rode, images of you dear Maggie appeared on the waves crest

You seemed to speak to me, “I love you Samuel, infinitely”

Your voiced muffled as the longboat continued to sway and creak;

The whale nodded its head, as–if agreeing to continue the chase

The oarsmen’s hands, now bleeding – the harpooner summoned –

Readied in the bow of the longboat, bloodstained shirt, calloused hands, weathered face, oil-stained boots - his life’s station

We are here because of you, whale - the Nantucket Sleigh Ride continued;

Years of whaling rides upon my dreams, the nightmares – nighttime screams

I call out for you Maggie and our children, to draw you to my heart

But after nearing the shore to see you all, I row back out to the New Bedford

Unfaithful in love, kept secret by the un-mourning sea water

A landlubber’s life a student, the whaling life a tutor;

Deep with its first dead, like the lamb lead to slaughter

Robbing families of their dear ones

Like grains of aged sand – runs in the veins of darkened water

After taking its first whaler’s life, it hastens the others –

The ones who quickly suspend their wayfarer deeds, now ended;

It is in the small things that I am blind –

Our children’s first steps, their first words; holding you close . . . no longer wait for thee

Somewhere, somehow, the joys that I knew, rode out with the tide

I have often wondered, what did you see in me?

Was it my touch?  My smile? – now all hidden, from the beauty of your eyes;

My thoughts of you quickly disappear, even if only for a moment

As we continue the chase – “Mr. Right Whale, we’re going to be picking an iron harpoon out of your liver!”

“Come about all ye oarsmen, come about   . . .



Copyright © 2006 Tinka Boukes & Dennis O’Bell



Whaler’s Lament

~Whaler’s Widow’s Lament~{11 }

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Reviewed by Birgit and Roger Pratcher 3/28/2006
Birgit and Roger
Reviewed by Carole Mathys 3/27/2006
You captured the essence of the ancient whaler, Tinka and Dennis, brilliantly!
Reviewed by Felix Perry 3/26/2006

Wicked sea tail (forgive the pun) that as you know I always enjoy. You have captured the life and longing of not just the whaler but of all sailors. Thank you.

Reviewed by Ronald Hull 3/26/2006
This is a new leaf for you, nostalgia for the industry that nearly eradicated whales. Herman Melville is a hard act to follow (even if I never understood his rants as Captain Ahab).

Reviewed by George Carroll 3/26/2006
Sherry expresses my feelings as well. Leave it to history.
Reviewed by Jerry Bolton (Reader) 3/26/2006
Hell of a ride you took me on here, y'all. Talk about your tough job description. Someone said a novel or short story here. Novel. Absoultely.
Reviewed by Sherry Heim 3/26/2006
A wonderful write of a time gone by, at least I hope it is and that it will never return. We no longer need anything from whales so to take their life is to murder a creature for only the purpose of the battle. How difficult a whaler's life must have been, the sea his only mistress and his mates his only friends.
Take care,
Reviewed by m w 3/26/2006
There is a novel or at least a short story here.... superb
Reviewed by Susan de Vegter 3/26/2006
Vivid and adventuresome write Tinka. Your poems are moving my friend.
Reviewed by E T Waldron 3/26/2006
A fine poem capturing the mood of the moment with vivd imagery!
Superb work Tinka and Dennis! Thank you!

Reviewed by Peter Paton 3/26/2006
Reminded me of Moby Dick, and the demented Gregory Peck as Captain Ahab, at the bow of the ship....:)
Excellent collaboration

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