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High seas sunsets

November 20, 2012

I’m quickly learning to love sunrises on the open ocean. All you can see below you is indescribably blue water. The sun rising behind you begins to show the smooth curl of your sails and warm your nightwatch-chilled back and neck. And a sky so thick with stars that you couldn’t identify constellations lightens to reveal the true shapes of clouds.

Sunset is another matter. It also always comes toward the end of watch, but somehow it’s a more tiring one than the 2:30 to 5 a.m. stint at the wheel. And it looks so different from the Hollywood vision of boat silhouetted against glowing sky. When you’re in the frame instead of watching it in the darkened theater, all you see is the sun in your eyes.


Facts of the Fiction
No wide-eyed romance in
sailing into the sunset
heroine’s hair streaming smoothly above
statuesque neck and shoulders
backlit silhouette
On the Coral Sea
wind whips dried, brown strands
across a ceased forehead
greasy with layers salt spray

Eyes squint
look starboard to avoid
regal lame`
carpeting the plasticy gloss of
choppy, rolling waves
Loosely bundled clouds
too swift to steer by
mimic distant land
sole relief from
sharp deliniation of
sea and sky

Gaze drawn into the compass
like to a Magic 8 Ball
mesmerized in its tilting, twirling
lines and numbers
forced to steady its spin with
precise pressure on the wheel

Apollo breaks Halley’s hold
laser beam of light
hits the curved dome
refracting its ray into half-closed eyes
Then the sun god demands subservience
perfect spotlight
unshaded by sail
slowly descends between
bimini corner and genoa leech

Only after the sun has set
solitude shifts to companionship
a warm hip slips along mine
silent watchers of a dying glow
Sky darkens, clouds redden
pale and fade
revealing night’s first star
Wide eyed, I find romance in
sailing into twilight

–Julie Laing

My boyfriend George and I are currently sailing across the South Pacific to Australia (see our travel blog, Ditch the Dog), so my poetry posts are even more infrequent than usual. Fortunately, the the dVerse Poets Pub gives you lots of other fabulous poetry to read. If you’ve come here from Open Link Night, please forgive my slowness in returning your visit and/or responding to you’re comment; I’ll make it around when I’m next in port.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Chaty Lorens permalink
    November 21, 2012 12:50 pm

    Very nice, Julie, you’ve brought me some wonderful memories of my sailing days—you’ve put me behind the wheel / tiller and I felt you guys sailing right along. I hope your enjoying your trip and your poetry. Thanks so much for sharing!


  2. November 21, 2012 9:11 am

    Great to follow your high seas adventures Julie… such visuals here. And this, of course

    a warm hip slips along mine


  3. November 20, 2012 5:09 pm

    smiles…ah there is romance in sailing…but i imagine being on deck riding the wheel all day can def have its toil on you…but once hte sun goes down and the heat is gone…well you have to keep warm somehow…smiles..



  1. High seas sunsets « Ditch the Dog

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