“I had resolved on a voyage around the world, and as the wind
on the morning of April 24, 1895 was fair, at noon I weighed
anchor, set sail, and filled away from Boston, where the Spray
had been moored snugly all winter. A thrilling pulse beat
high in me. My step was light on deck in the crisp air. I felt
there could be no turning back, and that I was engaging in an
adventure the meaning of which I thoroughly understood.”
I sat on the poop deck of ‘Joshua’ ,
a gaff-rigged replica of Slocam’s Spray
Built by Captain Bill Harpster
Reading these lines from Joshua Slocam’s
‘Circumnavigation of the Globe’.
Sunrise in the Salish Sea, on hook and reclining in a deck chair
I had nothing to do but look at the old tyme rigging
And codger up old salt sayings
Words evocative of the sailor’s sea
peak halliards and spanker booms
Flying-jig-martingales, bull-ropes, marlinspikes,
belaying pins and bollards.
Dreamily I word wander in poetic mariner jargon .
I picture the whale ship ‘Pequod’, commanded by Captain Ahab,
While below deck still in his berth slumbers salty Captain Bill
One-legged like Ahab whose Moby Dick was his Vietnam War.
Then my eyes spot a dot in the rigging repaired by Bill yesterday
A fuzzy speckled spider is at work
It makes ‘mock’ speed spins between shrouds and ratlines
Of the rope rung ladder to the masthead.
At first I don’t see the rigging threads
Spinning from its’ spherical gut
But they must be there in air
Because the spider is moving purposefully in space
Heading geometrically between way points
Joining all to a centre where crocheted filaments
become emergent gold in the rising sun.
Did he have to learn it? Become an apprentice?
Will he step back and ask
Is that good enough?
Next she suddenly jumps forward and catches hold of a filament.
Not finished yet the sailor engineer hauls in some slack and
Fixes silk threads firmly to the rigging.
Next she goes to the centre of her galactic star
Opens a gland bottle of tar
Applies a coagulating, viscid fluid from the centre out
And makes a glittering sticky thread from centre to head.
Now it waits for the next flying steak
While I await for a slumbering Bill to awake.