Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sea Trails

The following is an excerpt from my just finished collection of poems based on my 1977 six month trip in my 22 foot sailboat. I've begun submitting now. It's a combination of log notes and poems in hopes there'll be crossover appeal to both sailors and poets.

Coming out of the East River in preparation for anchoring at Sandy Hook, N.J., then sailing down the Jersey Coast. You can see the twin towers behind me.

My poem, Streaking, about that leg of the trip is currently in Empowerment4Women.


Little Adventure: Fitting out the boat. June 1977

Little Adventure is a Tanzer 22 fin keel sailboat, purchased second-hand in Marion, MA, in late 1974. No standing head room in the cabin.She came with two regular jibs (Genoa for light winds and standard size), one small storm jib made of thick canvass, and a compass. R and I add a depth sounder, odometer, ship to shore radio and, before our trip, a second five gallon gas tank and homemade spinnaker. We purchase an Avon to serve as combination dinghy and life raft to replace the fiberglass dinghy we owned the first two years. A supply of paperback books are stored on a shelf in the main cabin where one quarterberth cushion slides back and a pop-up table comes up for meals and for chart space for course plotting.

As the trip’s leave date nears, jeans and tee shirts are packed into two duffel bags and warmer clothes combined into a third, smaller duffel bag. Nets in the V-berth hold our toiletries. Wet gear hangs from a hook. Canned goods are stored in plastic bins beneath the quarter berths. Potatoes and onions hang from a net in the cabin. Block ice goes into a small front-opening ice chest built into the boat below the stove and sink. We have no hanging locker, no head. A porta potty will have to do. Our cat Monster’s litter box sits under the lip of the V-berth where we’ll sleep. A two-burner kerosene stove is mounted next to a sink too small to do dishes in. A bucket will do for that. Our goal is to make it to Florida, then across the Gulf Stream and down the Abacos, possibly ending up in New Orleans, a city we feel will be similar in spirit to Boston.

Sea Fever Redux

I must go down to the sea again…
John Masefield

I board the tiny sloop that has carried me
twice to Maine with its deep
silent harbors and moaning buoys.
I'm ensnared, trapped by increasing
longings to ride that magic carpet
into places different from my own
narrow world of nine to five rewind.
Saltwater rises through my body,
is transformed through its heat
into golden mist. I expand
without Alice's cookies,
become a gull dropping clams
on the rocks to crack them,
a molting lobster, a leaping dolphin,
a man watching the sky from a deserted dock.
The sea is my cradle and it rocks me,
birthing me into new ways of seeing.
My arms unfurl into sails.
I let the wind take me.

Pris Campbell

A gas stop.


Nic Sebastian said...

My arms unfurl into sails! Love that line. Best of luck with the collection!

Pris said...

Thanks, Nic!

Anna G Raman said...

Very nice poem.

Collin Kelley said...

Love the poems, Pris! Can't wait to read this collection!

Pris said...

Thanks, Anna! Collin, I appreciate. I hope I can get this one out there!

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

I think this is going to be a wonderful book, Pris! Feel better soon, so you can keep working to get it together....

Pris said...

Hi Joyce,
Fortunately I got it done before this bug hit. It's submitted in one chapbook competition now and the decision will be made at the end of this month. Odds are heavy. After this, I'll need to ask those more knowledgeable about these things for the next place to take it.