- THE MASTER OF THE SEA -

Some say I must have learned to swim
 While in my mother's womb–
Although I doubt this boast as fact,
 It's easy to assume.

To be the very best, I pledged,
 Unto the point of death
And learned to measure every stroke
 And cherish every breath.

I spent my youth among the waves
 (Of this most will agree),
And soon my reputation grew
 As Master of the Sea.

When competition came my way,
 I captured every prize
And mocked opponents if they failed
 To measure in my eyes.

No dare was ever great enough
 Nor wager deemed too small–
I've plunged into the darkest depths
 
And braved the fiercest squall.

I've clung to life on floating ice
 And battled tropic rains–
But though it seems I've done it all,
 One challenge still remains ...

There is an island, I've been told,
 Between the sky and shore
Where beaches gleam with golden sands
 And silver breakers roar.

It shines in glory to the east
 Beyond my earthly sight,
Protected by the angry tides
 And jagged reefs of white.

No living soul would dare to swim
 Those churning swells but me–
A fitting climax to my reign
 As Master of the Sea.

So with my faith securely placed
 In courage, skill, and brawn,
I plunge into the briny depths
 And strike off towards the dawn.

But as the day fades into night
 And minutes drag like years,
My body starts to weigh me down
 And roaring fills my ears.

My aching arms assail in vain
 As riptides choose my course–
But then I sense a different roar
 And strain to see the source.

In the distance straight ahead,
 I glimpse a golden beach
Where silver breakers toss and spray
 Just out of mortal reach.

I must continue pushing on
 Towards glory I foresee
If I achieve my final goal
 As Master of the Sea.

Then from the troubled water's edge
 A burst of a brilliant flame!
It silhouettes a waving man
 Who calls to me by name...

"Do you require my help out there?
 Please answer, I implore!
I'll guide you safely to the shoals
 So you can wade ashore."


His act of kindness I ignore–
 No help shall I condone!
When I emerge upon that beach
 I must succeed alone.

So since the light bears to my left,
 I veer off to the right;
It dims a bit with every stroke,
 Then finally fades from sight.

I turn again to swim for shore
 And gasp a breathless plea
That I fulfill my boastful claims
 As Master of the Sea.

A sudden squall sweeps from the west
 And crosses paths with mine;
It torments me with crushing waves
 And stinging sheets of brine.

Unable to withstand its force,
 I flounder in the gale
And sink below the dismal depths
 With no strength to prevail.

From deep inside my swirling mind
 I hear a voice quite clear;
It is the same one as before,
 Still gentle and sincere ...

"For you, I'll gladly calm this storm
 And thus preserve your quest;
Please let me guide you to the shore
 So I may grant you rest."


I break the surface once again
 With gasps of victory,
Confering glory on myself
 As Master of the Sea.

With newfound strength, I navigate
 Around the jagged reef;
The nearness of the journey's end
 Bestows a faint relief.

When suddenly 'tween reef and shore
 The ocean seethes and boils,
Then tentacles rise from the depths
 To writhe in hellish coils!

The Kraken rises from its lair
 Intent on my demise
And measures every stroke I take
 With black and lifeless eyes.

To stay beyond its slimy grasp,
 I try to swim around;
If wrapped among those suctioned arms
 I surely will be drowned!

Alas!  I feel a mighty tug
 Which dislocates my knee;
This monster grants me no respect
 As Master of the Sea.

To my amazement and alarm,
 The man I’d heard before
Approaches from the water's edge
 As if still on the shore!

He walks the surface of the deep;
 "Release him!" he commands,
And when the monster breaks its grip
 He offers me his hands ...

"Let me save you from your peril
 And stay here at your side,
For if you choose to swim alone
 You'll perish in your pride."


With little strength within my limbs
 And vision growing dim,
I find the faith I'd placed in me
 And give it all to him.

As he helps me limp ashore
 To leave what used to be,
I ask his name and he replies,
 
"The Master of the Sea."