The Burnham Light
Peering through the darkness and descending fog
We see the Burnham Light
It will surely guide us
On this frightful night.
It’s a welcome beacon that we see,
off our starboard side.
We start our final homeward stretch
Upon the rising tide.
At Avon’s estuary we sound
Two blasts upon our horn
But there is no returning sound to us,
on this cold and wintry morn.
Slow steam ahead the captain calls
And through telegraph relayed
And in the engine room below
Slow steam ahead displayed.
The engines go quite quiet,
Just the surf we hear.
As through the mist we forge ahead
Our hearts filled with fear.
The cold night air upon the deck
Chills one to the liver.
Upon the bridge, a friendly smile
Hello captain, my name’s Tom
Your pilot for the river.
We enter in the stream
Green and red lights in our spotlight beam
Steady on the port side Sir
And slow astern I deem.
Our vessel she’s the Monterrey
And she has served us well
With St. Brendan as our guide
She’s brought us through the swell.
The worst is Biscay bay
When storms come from the west
The back of our old vessel
Is put unto the test.
But now we approach home port
And hearts we left behind.
This sailing an adventure;
No regrets for which I signed.
I’ve got my book and pay galore
And glad to step ashore
But I know that in a week or two
My heart will yearn for more.
I have reached the regrettable realization that I may have squandered my life. I did a quick count recently and figured that I have visited about 66 countries, and lived for more than 3 years in 3 of them. During this time I completed 14 corporate moves (relocations) and have changed my address more than 23 times. I should have settled on a profession that would have kept me in one place with no packing and unpacking.
When I think of the time I have spent bundling my life into and out of boxes. Ah well, it's all water under the bridge. But I am grateful for the experience. At the end of the day I will be able to say with a certain authority, "been there, done that".
A note about this site’s Header Image The Header image for this site is of the Smith Avenue High Bridge. The bridge was built in 1889 and carries Minnesota State Highway 149 across its span of 2770 feet, 160 feet above the mighty Mississippi River. The picture was taken from the river looking to the north-east and downtown Saint Paul. The bridge is about 1040 miles from New Orleans.
One of the reasons I like this view is that I come from a city which has a spectacular bridge. It’s the Clifton Suspension Bridge http://www.ikbrunel.org.uk/clifton-suspension-bridge which spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon in Bristol, U.K. It’s about 1350 feet long and stands 245 feet above the river below. Sadly it has claimed the lives of more than 400 people who have committed suicide by jumping from the bridge. As a side note, not all attempts were successful. two small girls thrown off the bridge by their deranged father survived the fall when they were fished from the river by the crew of a passing pilot boat.
The bridge was opened in 1864 and was designed by the 24 year old architect, Isambard Kingdom brunel. It took 35 years to complete.
November 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm
I remember going through the Bay of Biscay just before the ferries to Spain stopped 😩 not a great experience !
LikeLiked by 1 person
November 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm
One old man I knew, he was sailing when ships still had sail, told me in my younger days – when you in across the waters of the Bay of Biscay that’s the time you start to pray. I still remember (and pray for) sailors whenever I eat a boiled egg. Nigel. Thanks for your comment
November 29, 2016 at 8:57 am
Wonderful poem! I can picture the scene clearly. Pretty frightening.