Whaler’s Elegy

Far too long my creaking, rocking prison,
this whaling ship asunder, lost at sea.
Why can I not be flung to shore?
Neptune, why so intent on punishing me?

My dear wife’s visage alive within my soul.
Grant she knows this forever more.
Neptune, why so intent on punishing me?
Why can I not be flung to shore?

Her lips, her breasts, I long for deeply.
You roiling monster, you unforgiving sea,
why can I not be flung to shore?
Neptune, why so intent on punishing me?

My death is near and she so far.
I curse and scream at thunder’s roar,
Neptune, why so intent on punishing me?
Why can I not be flung to shore?

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the world. Today Grace is hosting and asks us to write a Mirrored Refrain.

A Mirrored Refrain “is a rhyming verse form constructed by Stephanie Repnyek. The poem is formed by three or more quatrains where two lines within the quatrain are the ‘mirrored refrain’ or alternating refrain. The rhyme scheme is as follows: xaBA, xbAB, xaBA, xbAB. x represents the only lines that do not rhyme within the poem. A and B represent the refrain.”

What I always find most challenging in following a particular form, is letting the poem make sense such that the form doesn’t stick out like the proverbial sore thumb. I’m always up for a good challenge! Image is in public domain.

28 thoughts on “Whaler’s Elegy

  1. kittysverses August 12, 2021 / 1:24 pm

    I like your use of the refrain lines. Moving poem. 🙂


  2. Lucy August 12, 2021 / 2:28 pm

    Such incredible and visceral imagery throughout this poem. ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 12, 2021 / 5:26 pm

      Thank you, Lucy. I’m so glad you liked it. This was a hard form for me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. sanaarizvi August 12, 2021 / 3:04 pm

    This is incredibly gorgeous in its lament, Lillian! I am especially moved by; “My dear wife’s visage alive within my soul. Grant she knows she is with me forever more.”💝💝

    (and thank you for your kind, loving comment on my poem 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian August 12, 2021 / 5:28 pm

      Tough form for me…..I’m glad you understood the lament. I can’t imagine all those seafarers’ spouses in those olden days of literally no communication….waiting for their loved ones to return from sea….and sometimes they never returned.


  4. Grace August 12, 2021 / 3:20 pm

    The angst and emotional turmoil are evident in your poem. The question format is a good twist:

    Neptune, why so intent on punishing me?
    Why can I not be flung to shore?


    • lillian August 12, 2021 / 5:30 pm

      Thank you, Grace. I’m reminded of the huge black and white portraits of elderly women’s beautiful faces, one three sides of an old clapboard building near the docks in Provincetown. They are a depiction of women waiting for their spouses returning from sea….explaining in their own artistic way that these women waged the battle of the sea as much as their husbands did who left in fishing boats, sometimes gone for days and months….sometimes never to return.


  5. Jane Dougherty August 12, 2021 / 4:27 pm

    I think you got it right. The refrain works well and the rhymes slip in beautifully. No sore thumbs 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Helen Dehner August 12, 2021 / 6:27 pm

    This form lends itself beautifully to your Whaler’s Elegy poem! It played out like a movie in my mind.


  7. msjadeli August 12, 2021 / 7:56 pm

    Perfect title for the poem and what I would imagine a dying sailor would be begging for at his end. So sad and so well-done.


  8. Hank Kaykuala August 12, 2021 / 9:41 pm

    Beautifully set, Lillian! Smoothly down the line. To top it all the image is so relevant given a scenario of a stormy sea.



  9. areadingwriter August 12, 2021 / 10:04 pm

    this lament is a poetic desperation. it pulls the heart – especially the refrained lines. well done, Lillian.


  10. erbiage August 12, 2021 / 10:12 pm

    This washes against me like the waves


  11. Truedessa August 12, 2021 / 10:21 pm

    Enjoyed the mix of mythology in this one! Neptune the ruler of the sea. Of course, now I have the image of that giant Neptune Sculpture on Virginia Beach in my head.


  12. paeansunplugged August 13, 2021 / 9:11 am

    This deeply resonated as my spouse is a sailor. Thanks for voicing my feelings.


  13. Sunra Rainz August 13, 2021 / 9:48 am

    I enjoyed the rocky ebb and flow of emotion here, Lillian ❤ Particularly the last stanza.


  14. writingwhatnots August 14, 2021 / 3:37 am

    You made the form work well 😊. I really felt the whaler’s desperation at the mercy of the seas.


  15. Terveen Gill August 19, 2021 / 7:46 am

    This is so beautiful. The want of being returned to shore, and the torment of being subjected to nature’s fury.
    Your words deliver both emotions powerfully. 🙂


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