Thursday, December 20, 2012

The nautical "Twas the Night Before"

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the boat
Not a creature was stirring, not even a stoat.
The stockings were hung by the nav station with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their berths,
With visions of hardtack, all dancing with mirth.
And mama in her hairnet, and I in my cap,
Had just settled ourselves for a long winter’s nap.

When out on the deck there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bunk to see what was the matter,
Away to the port hole I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the calm winter ocean,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the boat's soft motion,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature trawler, and eight tiny key deer.

With a tipsy old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than sea gulls his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

"Now Aquaholic! now, Luna Sea! now, Stocks and Blondes!
On, Chum Bucket! On, Ship Face!, and Crossing the Ponds!
To the top of the fo’c’sle! to the top of the gaff!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash with a laugh"

As canvas sheets that before the wild hurricane flies,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the skies.
So up past the mast top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of gear, and St Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard up on my deck,
Prancing and pawing making my topsides a wreck,
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the dorade box St Nick came with a bound.

He was dressed in foul weather gear, from head to foot,
And his oilskins were salty, wet, worn out and kaput.
A bundle of LORAN's he had flung on his back,
And he looked like an installer, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they twinkled, his dimples how merry,
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry.
His bourbon breathed mouth was drawn like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as pale as fresh snow.

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the ganga smoke circled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a huge round belly,
That shook as he slurred, and he was so smelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a belch from his head,
Soon gave me to know I had something to dread.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his third finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the dorade box he rose!

He sprang to his trawler, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him mumble, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!

Exhausted from St. Nick, and concerned instead,
To my berth I stagger for a few hours abed.
Awaking in the morn, I find all of my rum gone,
And a pile of manure on the deck from a fawn.

I hope you were good, l seemed to have gotten nothing but anthracite.

Merry Christmas, and boat safely from the Installer and family.

1 comment:

  1. Love this!! Very clever and very well done Bill... rushing to share on Twitter right now via @BoaterLife_OL

    happy holidays to you and your crew too!


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