Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ships in Bottles

I have always been completely fascinated by Ships in Bottles. I’m certain the very first clipper ship I ever saw was a miniature in a bottle.

I saw it at a house my parents visited when I was but a child. But to me, it was one of the most amazing things I had ever seen. I never forgot how beautiful it was with its wee sails and rigging and every detail so exact. And yes it was on a blue ocean and there in front of a window, with bright sunshine lighting the interior of the bottle, it seemed all too real. And then, of course, the most fascinating enigma of all, was “How did they get that ship in that bottle?”

And so now, for Christmas, I found a very simple kit for building a ship in a bottle and bought it for my 7-year-old grandson. Now just because I have a great love, and fascination, with ships in a bottle will not mean that he has. There is no context in his experience to give him the same fascination.

So I wrote a wee book for him with ship poems, ship-in-a-bottle history notes, and my own story of my first encounter with the ship in a bottle when I was a child. I will spare you the reading of the entire book. I only want to share with you a silly poem I wrote for his little book.

SHIP IN A BOTTLE, SAIL SAFELY AWAY

They were sailing, fast a-sailing
In a sunbeam on the shelf
Sea a-foaming, sails a-billowing
Captained by a tiny elf.

They were rum-mied up and jolly
Singing songs of sailing fame
And I could not help but want so much
To join them in their game.


To face the sea from the upper deck
And see flat waters with a curve
They call’d to me, “It is your watch.”
I thought that quite absurd.

The tiny ropes were coiled up tight
Lifesavers in their places
The main sail billowed like a flying kite
With the ocean spraying traces.
___

I could not stay my little hand
The sea called out to me
So I took the ship down from the shelf
To sea what I could see.

I turned it over in my hands
To have a better look
And yes, I saw the captain there,
And I think I saw the cook.

I pulled the cork out of the bottle
Looked in that porthole small
Then suddenly the bottle slipped
I saw it bump the wall.

I scooped both hands so quickly
Down near the hard slate floor
And in a nick of time I caught
And saved the Misty Moor.

Tiny voices rummied up
All danced and cried with glee
And in that careless wreckless dance
They fell into the sea.

Before I could cast my tweezers
Down the tiny bottle-neck
I saw the cook throw out life savers
And say, “Get these round your neck!”


They grabbed the tiny lemon candies
The LifeSavers that were chucked
And so managed to keep a-floating
Till with tweezers they were plucked.

I pinched their trousers in the backside
And pulled them up on the deck
And again I heard that same small voice
Muttering, “What the heck?”

So now they’re back there in the cabin
Of the tall ship, Misty Moor
And I am very grateful that
With my help, they did endure.

When ships are built in bottles
The crafting lends a charm
That will safely keep the real ship
Forever free from harm.
____

Later on the radio,
I heard something very odd
The real Moor was so embattled
Only help could come from God.

They said she clashed with giant waves,
Round the coast of Cull Eldees,
There was little hope she could be saved
In those rough, tempestuous seas.

But a miniature in a bottle
Made with patience and with care
Gave salvation to the Big Ship
To escape the wild sea’s snare.

Because that mini-ship was bottled
The Big Ship was safe that day,
And the Misty Moor, at nightfall
Docked safely in the bay.

2009 Roberta Smith

Hope you enjoyed the poem.

Have a Very Happy Holiday Season!!

16 comments:

Alan G said...

Nix, nix - to the contraire. That is far from being a silly poem. Enjoyed it very much. Imagination can be a wonderful thing and take us on adventures we might otherwise have never been.

I use to build model ships but never attempted the 'ship-in-a-bottle' project. I do remember seeing a model one time where the bottle was plastic and in two halves. That way you could glue it together when you were finished. :)

Anne said...

Enjoy? Yes indeed. We always enjoy all you share, and I wish you a lovely, exciting New Year.

Happy Holidays, Roberta!

WheelDancer said...

You're too modest Roberta, it's a lovely poem and a sweet story. It's true we can't always infect others with our fascinations but nothing would grow if we didn't cast the seed to the wind.

Happy Holidays to you!

joared said...

What a writing talent you have -- such a delight!

Merry Christmas!

trish said...

I can just bet the wee grandson loved that gift! Any trip through your imagination is grand, Roberta!

Dick said...

What a tour de force, Roberta! A delightful poem that really ought to be set to music. In places it reads a little like something from a contemporary 'Child's Garden Of Verses'.

Ship in bottle said...

I love ships in bottles too... But i do not understand why we should call it "ships in bottles" not "ship in bottle"...

For more, I think this is a good poem about ships in bottles. So i kindy hope you can allow me post it in my website http://www.shipinbottle.net.

Thanks for all.

Joy Des Jardins said...

You are a beautiful writer and poet Roberta....I just loved this piece. Happy New Year sweet friend... ~Joy

Roberta S said...

Hi alan, so glad you appreciated my poem. And the thing about farcical bottles cut and glued? Yes, I've heard of them but with them there is no beauty, magic, or fascination. Obviously, having built a few ships, yourself, you appreciate even more than I, the art of installing them in a bottle. Thanks for the comment.

Roberta S said...

Hi Anne, thank you for visiting and for the lovely card. I look forward to another year of your great discoveries and offerings of worthy stories, statements, recipes, and other fascinations from the cyperworld during the New Year. Thank you for so faithfully scouting out the good stuff. Also, the Best to You and all Those You Hold Dear in 2010!

Roberta S said...

Wheeldancer, a lovely kind note from you. Thank you so much.
Happy New Year and I'm looking forward to sharing more biking trips with you in 2010!

Continue your treks and continue to tell me what you have seen. Just don't ask me to ride along. Bicycle seats cause me more pain in the groin than childbirth, although thankfully, at long last, efforts are being made to improve the comfort of them. Still you ride away on your own and we'll talk about it when you get back. :)

Roberta S said...

Thank you, Thank you, joared. You are a wise critic and for me, your enjoyment means much. Happy 2010!

Roberta S said...

Hi trish. Grandson's mom or dad read him a book each night at bedtime. His dad read him the little book I wrote for him on Christmas Eve.

Next morning Son-In-Law and I were first ones in the kitchen sharing a morning coffee and S-in-L was full of questions about the history and authenticity of what I had written. Seems he was as intrigued with the story of ships in bottles as I hoped my grandson would be.

I thank you for visiting me, and thanks for taking the time to comment. I hope you will come again.

Roberta S said...

Hi Dick, you make me laugh. Get out your guitar, get out your drums, and whatever else you play, and let's do it. Might be a hit you know.

Sappy enough for Country Music, don't you think?

As for you, Dick, keep the lovely poetry and great writing coming my way on your blog, and all the best to you in 2010!

Roberta S said...

Hi Ship in Bottle, thanks for visiting.

I am truly flattered by your visit and by your request but truth is I would rather you didn't put my poem on your site. I do not wish to amalgamate anything I write with sites intended for commercial or marketing distribution.

At the same time, I truly appreciate your visit and admire so much the 'patience' needed to do what you do.

As for the title ships in bottle, ship in bottles, etc., obviously more correct would be..'a ship in a bottle' but if a bottle is a bottle, and a ship is a ship (albeit many different ships and many different bottles), then 'ships in bottles' works for me.

Roberta S said...

Hi Joy, thank you for stopping by. Thank you for the kind and cheery greeting.

I equally love your sweet stories and all the wonderful pictures, knowledge, and words of kindness you offer in your own discussions.

I'll see your 'round the corner in 2010. All the best to you and yours in the New Year!!