Saturday, March 5, 2011

Kaisun (ky - SOON)

 A little background on this poem:  Years ago, a friend of mine took me out commercial fishing with his father near Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands).  We ended up taking shelter from a storm in a harbor named Kaisun, a place the native Haida believe to be haunted by spirits.  While anchored, we finished off a bottle of rum and decided to write a poem, put it in the bottle, and cast it out to sea.  We added the name of our boat and the name and address of the skipper, hoping someone would find it and let us know.  Nothing so far . . .
To anyone reading this note:
we hope you will read what we wrote
and remember it well
for it sent us to hell
from the troller on which we did float.

And if you do read what we've written,
try to imagine us sittin'
in a boat with one wish:
to catch us some fish
but upon us Lady Luck has been shittin'.

A-hunting spring salmon we went
and upon heavy conkin' were bent
but quickly we found
there were none around;
we looked until we were spent.

We were sore to admit to defeat,
but were beating a sullen retreat
when up without warning
came seas that were storming
and we found ourselves in the hotseat.

For the only shelter around
was rumored to be on haunted ground.
Or, rather, haunted water,
for in Kaisun harbor
they say ancient spirits are found.

It seemed there was no other way;
in Kaisun we were forced to stay.
although now, looking back,
it seems a much wiser tack
would have been with the storm on that day.

For no sooner had we dropped anchor
than the spirits arose with a rancor
that gave us the sense
that our troller's presence
was about as welcome as salt in a canker.

Those ghosts howled out such a noise
that it curdled all the blood in us boys
and created whirlpools
that sucked us poor fools
down into the seas without choice.

It seemed that we spun for a week;
we whirled until we were weak.
it shrivelled our balls
and coated the walls
with our puke – oh god, what a reek!

When the wretched-go-round finally stopped
we staggered out to see where we'd dropped
and to our surprise
what greeted our eyes
was what looked like a beach in the tropics.

Aye, a beach in the tropics it was
but it was no paradise because
the surrounding atoll
left us no hope at all
of ever escaping our curse.

We searched the small island around
but the only two things that we found
were a dead sailor's shoes
and a shitload of booze -
a crate of rum, half buried in the ground.

There were a hundred bottles in that box
and, after a couple of shots,
we came up with a plan
to get us off of that sand
and back home, safe in our cots.

We'd drink all that rum, really quick,
and into each empty bottle we'd stick
a note that we'd write
explaining our plight
written in the rhyme scheme of limerick.

Well, we ended up breaking nearly all of those jugs -
three rowdy, drunken, fisherman thugs
in a terrible fix
but as stupid as hicks
on our devil-may-care liquid drugs.

And now, as we sit here, so lowly,
our last bottle we've drank, much more slowly
and we wrote you this note
in the desperate hope
that you'll save us from dying too early.

So if you are reading this tale,
we hope you will quickly set sail
and, sooner or later,
scour all the equator
and rescue us from our sandy jail.

But even if you never should find us
we hope that still you will mind us
when to you we say
avoid Kaisun bay
or you'll pull into hell right behind us!


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