Wednesday, January 18, 2006
A Ship In A Bottle
It took months to craft the model of the ship so that it was ready to put into a Dimple Haig bottle. All the sails have to lie down on one another and then be unfurled after they are placed inside.
The 'Wild Deer' is the ship my great grand father sailed upon to New Zealand in1872. It took a hundred days at sea on the great circle route, and as steerage passegers they were sealed in the hold when the weather was rough.
The Wild Deer
Boldly then she plied the Southern Seas
From Scotland, horsing past Brazilian coast
Her speed and sail the China trader’s boast,
For racing home a hold of fragrant teas.
And from her prow Diana scans the view,
A figurehead the goddess of the hunt,
An oracle, carved from a solid stump,
To guide her charge upon a course that’s true
On she drove, this ship of wood and steel,
A clipper in the zenith of her prime,
With hardy crew who dare to boldly climb
Her rigging high above the plunging keel.
Then Lesseps scoured his ditch across the sands
And changed the course of history for all time,
Diverting from tea trade ships-of-the-line,
To carry immigrants to foreign strands.
And then her cargo’s price beyond compare,
In steerage sealed beneath the rolling deck,
Without life boats their fear is of ship wreck,
Those emigrants who for new life prepare.
Black and sleek she lunges on the breeze,
By iceberg-flows in endless summer’s light.
For a hundred days they crave the sight
Of Port Chalmers in the south’s antipodes.