Surprised

George Spaeth

Squirrel Island 2019

Rashly sailing through a storm
In gales of vision-blocking rain,
Driven by discontent, I welcomed
Nature’s fury beating me.


The mainsail, whipped by stinging wind,
And loosened lest the Lea capsize,
Beat loudly on the straining stays;
My shoulders were as tight as they;
I pulled my chin against my chest
As barrels of cold cascading salt
Defeated my old poncho’s strength.


Cold combers broke across the bow,
A danger new to me. The shore
Was hidden by wind-driven rain.
I pulled the poncho tight around
My shivering core. I was afraid.


Just then a whale rose up, beside
The submerged wooden coaming’s edge;
Quiet in the midst of chaos.
She swam close by, stable, sure.
Yes, it was a black-skinned whale
Who found me, struggling in a storm.
It came to me that I was part
Of her existence, one in which
Are heard vibrations we don’t hear.
The Lea sped on, the swells still breaking
On the bow, the soaking gale
Still buffeting my crusted face.
She restored a steady breath,
And stayed with me until she knew
That I knew I was not alone.
My shoulders loosened, and my fear
Subsided, though I could not see
The mainland through the gusting rain.


I thanked her, softly. Then she cleared
Across the bow to the windward side.
There she simply disappeared,