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A story-poem written with a bit 'a Scots parlance. For all the David Balfour of Shaws, and Alan Breck Stewart types in this world.
Have ye not known the tale of
The Whaleshead? A black awful time
It was – gripped by such a dread fright –
When a raging sea, wroth with hunger, stole
Near a hunner or two more a sad sorry souls
And sent um down, a-feared and a-shriekin',
To Davie Jones afore their time.
The bleakest of times it was -
And it came in of a sudden,
This bitter blustering thing,
Rumblin' low and a-moanin' -
As a fair bonnie woman in moil -
Strokin' all the senses daft, this
Portend black of billowing clouds,
Bearing down on the shore bitter
With a sharp-set iciness that bit
Fiercely at the skin like the
Teeth of Serpents
Oh laws how it roared and
Carried on; that perishin' cold sleet
As sure as death freezin' the hair stiff –
We were aghast at the shear sight of it,
And dinnae know our future near;
Nature up in a snuff and the waves
Dancin' high with windy fingers,
Pullin' up the bones of wizards
And warlocks and things -
“Save our souls,” was the cry
Of those in the way of harm –
“Hoot toot,” was the sneer of
Those smug at a distance …
And a dread sight it was;
This loathy tempest; pit-mirk
The sea and the ramping waves -
Oh a prospect compelling the mind
Awful with the rumble of destruction;
A dire muckle of hopelessness that
Held the bones and heart in the
Callous fingers of chance -
“Please help us,” was the cry
Of those in the way of harm –
“Hoot toot,” the rejoinder was of
Those aloof and smug at a distance …
There was nary measure of time;
Day and night fluxing together in a
Black swirl of clouds and thunderous
Mayhem, and all the while the tempest
Brooding barmy on the hapless town and
Outlying vessels; shriekin' hell like banshees
‘Most a fortnight it lasted -
A short fortnight, minus three -
Tearin' the soul outa any strong man;
Razing cottages and taverns and busting
The mizzen from many a sea-worthy vessel;
Most of um breached or broke up like kindlin',
And most all the God fearing townsfolk
Begging desperate fur Duns Scotus -
“God will save us,” was the
Cry of those with the strong faith –
“Hoot toot,” was the answer from
Those at a safe distance …
A hideous time it was, one
That left pocks on me soul. And now
When the clap-o-thunder fits me bereft,
And the heart cries out in the blackest of
Despair, I can still see all those poor souls
Lammin' desperate in a shit-mucklety tomb.
No …ne’er in my life will I ever forget the
Whaleshead, and ne’er, ever, of a surety,
Will I forget those souls that passed on …
Richard Lloyd Cederberg
Between the Cracks
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|Reviewed by Mary Ann Biddinger
Your honor and steadfast strength of soul gives way to
this compelling and masterful poem with a bit a' Scots
parlance to enjoy!
Lady Mary Ann
|Reviewed by Mor Inchrory
"Ciamar a tha sibh?"
Yur poem reminds me o’ some whale watching I did in Iceland last September, I arrived just after the big glacier flood from Katla in July that wis raw nature in motion, I hope I am nae gangin tae be back when thae big yin blows.
Ony way back tae thae poem.
Och "Ah dinnae ken" whit thae wirld is coming tae, it seems as though some famous maker called Richard, on Authorsden has moved thae Oregon whalesheid ower tae Scotland, as though we didnae hae enough troubles o’ our ain.
Especially wi yon Trump fella building his golf courses ower land o’ thae Doric, it’s enough tae make oor windie whirlygigs blaw his thatch aff.
He likes tae haver on a bit, an’ he looks awfy peely-wally, he needs mair tumshie wi his haggis.
Ony way aathing has a end, an a puddin has twa.
Let’s hope he meets thae deil wi better grace.
It’ll tak mair than a fair few million dollars tae knock guid auld St Andrew aff its perch.
Seein’ we invent’d thae game, we already hae five hunner o’ thae bloody things.
Yer poem reminds me o’ thae Scot’s saying “Come wi thae wind an gang wi thae watter”.
Yur storm whit iver side o thae watter dinnae seem tae hae harm’d thae Nellie Whites.
Which wis jist as weil, cause Duns Scotus wis tae busy arguing wi thae King o’ France.
Ony way I bet it washed a fair bit mair gold up on thae sandy bits fer thae Oregon beach-combers, nae sic luck in Scotland all we get are dead whales.
A good powerful poem plenty of oomph about, I like that.
Hoots, toots, och aye thae noo! Mine’s double malt, hae yin yur sel.
|Reviewed by Sheila Roy
|Bravo! My favorite from you thus far, Richard! You gave this piece a natural feel that pulls the reader into the moment. Plus, the imagery...wow! Sometimes I write a poem that I think I'll never be able to surpass...but eventually I do. Do you get that feeling with this poem? A masterpiece!! Love and Hugs~
|Reviewed by blue soplain
|...and i could so hear the rich scottish brogue rolling like thnder, like waves over those poor vessels/vassals... banshees and tempest.uous [sirens] included; souls that pass by us, or pass us by, are one thing, but souls that pass THROUGH us, ghostships in the night.. . and oft times, there are the skeletal few souls that can catch on our own ribs and live and breathe IN us for a while. ...
your words always have a haunted quality but this... . .is a forlorn rickety thing, near collapse, it needs a mermaid to revive it; a liquid memory of such. .. .
i imagine you could tell an epic tale, a faerie dream, better than anyone.....all i need is a fire and to sit at your feet :}
dandelion wine and a pipe~
|Reviewed by Gwendolyn Thomas Gath
"Whaleshead" filled with an abundance of imagery, enjoyed your accent caused the plot to be thickened even more.
Wishing you all the best in your endeavors,
|Reviewed by Andre Bendavi ben-YEHU
An inspiring stimulating composition... "Whaleshead ..." strikes the learning tools and ignites the dynamo of imagination on the sea of enchantment ~ making waves of curiosity ~ and foam of creative colors of the rainbow of knowledge... A ship of poetic magnitude commanded by an ADMIRAL POET.
I salute You, Poet.
Andre Emmanuel Bendavi ben-YEHU
|Reviewed by Rebecca Lerwill
|This is very entertaining. I wish I could hear it being read to me in that distinctive scott accent.
|Reviewed by Jerry Engler
|This epitomizes the high energy of epic poetry. Such a great sea tale that it brought back to me the novels of Patrick O'Brian, the sagas of the British Isles and the Edmund Fitzgeral combined in one great heart-song. I loved it....Jerry|
|Reviewed by Ronald Hull
|Aye, ye are not Scottish, but what a tale ye hath told! I remain amazed at your grasp of history and language. Together, they make for a formidable writing style, unequaled by most of today's pulp fictioners. I gave up trying to read Herman Melville, but this piece reminds me of him.
|Reviewed by Barbara Smith
|Richard, this captures the images of a mighty ocean gone wild and nothing could contain its wildness. The Whalers and sailors saw the finger of death pointing in their faces but there was not a place to run. I loved the word play and your voice in this magnificent write. The visual images were remarkable, leaving images of cities being lost and the ocean one of kindlin, lost souls, and debris. Remarkable!!|
|Reviewed by Karen Palumbo
|Sounds like an old sea tale as the Whalers climbed down off the ropes to the plank to leave the ship, lucky to be alive. A rough and tumble tale of sailors past all brought to life...
Be always safe,
|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
|Effectively penned, Richard, very well penned and illustrated - excellent.
(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.
|Reviewed by Ed Matlack
|This was quite image provoking & gave lesson to me of a place & time I knew not...Ed|
|Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
|Love the Scottish feel to this tale, Richard! Simply marvelous writing; bravo!
(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Tx., Karen Lynn. :D
richard lloyd cederberg