I wrote this poem way back in 2006, while I was still in college. I liked it then and I like it now. Sure, I notice plenty of bits that aren’t up to my current standards of polish, but overall, it’s held up remarkably well (in my ever-so-biased opinion). And I still think the third stanza is one of the best things I’ve ever written.
“Austromenock” is pronounced ‘oss-TROM-in-okh,’ by the way. At least, that’s what I decided when I invented the word. Etymology: me.
Too young to fear, though not yet brave
We chanced the arbitrary wave
And scorned alike both home and shore
Disdaining legend’s wiser lore –
That beast of idle sailors’ talk:
The flashing night cascaded grim
On heaven’s flowering diadem;
We watched the sea uncoiling whip
Resurgent bellows past our ship.
Whose visage caused our craft to rock?
Omniscient eye! Serrated claw
And barnacle-encrusted maw!
Unnumbered arms – a panoply
Of suckered limbs beneath the sea
And thickened plates that interlock –
Behold our doom: the waters spoke;
Our hull they splintered at a stroke
And timbers swept like blades of grass
Pursuing that colossal mass
Whose wake released its aftershock:
Now I alone survive to tell
Of how my crew and captain fell;
I heed at last the banshee’s wail;
And if someday you brave the sail,
Remember, ere you leave the dock –
Do you have any older work you’re still proud of?