July 2, 2013


Jean Paul

‘twas Sunday morning when I got word:
in the dark land across the sea
my son had been captured, ransomed
and would be hung and quartered next moon

My hard work and fortunes drowned in a ship wreck
I was now a pauper man.
I had no ransom to pay, no way to save
my only blood, my precious son.

The war was going strong and I could not gain a ship.
The captains, cowards all of them!
Undeserving of the ships they stood or the pistols on their hips,
Refused my passage; refused to sail, refused to sail.

So I set my chin into the freezing wind,
swore a vow to heaven above and hell below
I would cross the world and bring my ransomed son
Home to me, home from the sea

I stole into the harbor in the dead of night
found a skiff unmanned and unprotected
Without second thought I boarded, raised ragged sails
and took off in desperate flight across the sea

Now you may think me foolish
to set out in a vessel so small and decrepit
Alone and old and unprotected
But I am Jean-Paul; I am King of this Water
Let the hunger and the scoundrels come
Let the evil beasts of the sea rise to stop me
Let the ocean try to swallow me whole
I will best them all, I will save my son.

I set out under a clear sky
With a gentle wind to my stern
but as the shoreline faded
the ocean’s mood darkened

The waves picked me up and threw me down.
I held fast.
The bottom of my small craft
Became my only home.

As I cowered beneath the sea’s wrath
what seemed like years passed
until at last the center mast snapped
and I was all alone.

The setting moon further enraged the sea
The cruel waves were determined to stop me
Worn, tired and weak,
I was torn free from my raft.

Tumbled and thrown
and surely to drown
Never again would I dare
to even dream of the ground

Minutes and years passed.
My lungs filled with water and brine,
Yet my lips snarled with determination!
For I am Jean-Paul; and I am King of this Sea
Let it devour me and have my bones
Let the sharks eat my flesh
Let the crabs make my skull a home
My rage will live on, I will save my son.

On a withered beach under the shadow of a black sun
The gallows are standing, a lone noose is swinging
the prisoner, tortured and beaten
is soon to be hanging, all alone, all alone.

And the sea
bubbling and roiling
angry and boiling
breaks among the rocks and the sand

The blood crowd is calling
“String him up! String him up! Start him a-falling!”
The executioner grins and two feet are flailing
… from the horizon, a great storm is charging

The waves stampede; crashing and thundering
pounding and breaking, slamming and killing
The gallows are shattered, the people are drowning
Not one man is spared, not one man forgiven

Only the prisoner
tumbled and torn
Finds himself living
after the storm

Surrounded by death, ripped flesh, and destruction
He pulls the noose from ‘round his neck
sets his chin to the bitter wind, his eyes to the saving sea
And swears to his forlorn love, “wait for me, wait for me.”


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