My father was a seaman to his bones.
I see him now upon the bridge, legs braced
To counteract the motion of the moving deck,
His ruddy weather-beaten face aglow
With health, his cheerful grin as he stands there
Bare-headed in the breeze that stirs his curly hair.
He’s telling yet another sailor’s yarn,
I hear again his quiet steady voice,
Unhurried tone, unfold its magic tales
Of other ships and foreign ports and men
Like him who’d spent their adult lives at sea
Set free from petty cares of folk ashore.
I feel his warmth. His presence is so strong
It seems impossible to think he’s dead
But yet I wrote the words that mark his grave:
“generous, warm-hearted, cheerful”.