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Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Sitting on a Capstan on the Dockside

I'm sitting on a capstan on the dockside
as, off and on, I've been for several days.
The skipper of a frigate by the dockside
has suspicions that he's not afraid to air -
he's sent an officer, repeatedly, to question
why I'm sitting on this capstan on the dockside,
why I've been doing so for several days.

I've explained, as plain as I can make it sound,
that sitting on a capstan on the dockside
is not an occupation I would recommend.
As a chair the capstan lacks a few essentials,
and I've tried to make it clear it's not for fun
that I'm sitting on a capstan on the dockside
observing naval vessels leave and come.

I think I'm now about to be arrested,
for the skipper's glasses glint more often in the sun.
I can only say what I have said - and now repeat:
that I'm waiting for another man to come,
a man essential to a most essential plan:
a man who will be authorised to start
the job that I've been given clearance to complete.

16 comments:

The Weaver of Grass said...

Now I want to know in detail exactly why you are sitting there Dave!

Daydreamertoo said...

LOL
This reminded me of the song 'Sitting on the dock of the bay watching the tide roll away'
Clever. Made me smile too.

Jinksy said...

Mystery rules! LOL

haricot said...

I enjoy your mysterious lines and then I also enjoyed these comments. LOL

Msnicddaily said...

Ooh--I love the glint of glasses in the sun. A lot of fun! K.

hyperCRYPTICal said...

Mmmm - the plot thickens! What's going on here then Dave? Who is the man you're waiting for...

Anna :o]

Brian Miller said...

smiles....enjoy your sitting while it lasts...i like to watch the boats...and jails not so bad...perhaps you will meet your man there...smiles.

Mary said...

Quite an intriguing tale, Dave.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Marvellous Dave and this time, so much in Frost's legacy. Maybe it's that in these days I "hear" Frost everywhere but this poem of yours perfectly fits in my echoes.

Ygraine said...

I am intrigued.
Why ARE you sitting on the capstan, and who is this man you're waiting for?
I found the ingredients of a true mystery here...

A Cuban In London said...

Great wordplay. I love your poetry, sometimes it's earnest and some other times it's playful. Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

Windsmoke. said...

I am intrigued to very mysterious. Maybe you have turned into a terrorist who is waiting for a mad bomber to turn up to complete your mission? :-).

cloudia charters said...

ah, we all live with such preoccupations today. . .
was it different in the distant past?

Was the post-war period of relative DOMESTIC peace an aberration?

Wishing the swells who can afford, or the young who scrimp, to attend the Summer Games to be safe. Order is better than disorder, unless it is reordering an evil order of things-
spoken as a Yank I suppose.

You do cause one to muse!


Warm Aloha from Honolulu
Comfort Spiral

> < } } (°>

The Elephant's Child said...

I have a shameful confession to make. I read the first chapter of so of a book and then read the last chapter. I am intensely frustrated that I cannot turn to the end and have all explained in this intriguing piece of yours. More please.
A captive audience.

Dave King said...

O.K. everyone

Obviously I should have included the back story in the original post. I didn't think so many would be interested in it, or even suspect that there was one.

Not me, Guv, it was him! I have never sat upon a capstan in my life! This is a true story, but it goes back 40+ years. I was teaching in Kent at a school which had adopted a destroyer (though I called it a frigate in the poem). We received an invitation from the captain to take a arty of pupils to see over the ship and to have tea with him. From the bridge he pointed out the workman sitting on the capstan and told the story of how he had been there since the day before, and was obviously much interested in the (mainly naval) ships coming and going. - I exaggerated slightly the time he had been there. The captain also said how he had sent the first officer down to question the man. (Security at that time was nothing like it is now, of course, but was beginning to be tightened.) The man had given much the explanation that I used in the poem: that he was waiting for the bloke who was to start the job that he had come to finish.

Probably not as interesting as you thought it would be! If so, apologies.

I will now take up those points not covered above. Please excuse if I do not reply to you personally on this occasion.

Daydreamer too
You are spot on. I woke up yesterday without a post, but to the radio alarm playing the very song you mention. It reminded me of the man sitting on the capstan watching the ships go by - and I wrote the poem.

Cloudia
Maybe, I'm not sure. We had great pre-occupations then, of course: the Cold War, the A bomb and the H bomb, etc, etc.

Dave King said...

Cloudia
I don't seem able to comment on your blog at the moment. I just get "There was a problem, please try again." messages.