Please visit our home site at

Anke and I are building our next boat, and writing about it at Access to the net comes and goes, so I'll be writing in fits and spurts.

Please feel free to browse the archives, leave comments where you will and write, and I'll respond as I can.

Fair winds!

Dave and Anke
triloboats swirl gmail daughter com

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Solstice Reflection

My stab at the impression of late dusk with snow on the water, and a night passage ahead.

Sailor's Carol
Words by Charles Causley
Music & Arrangement by Gordon Bok

Lord, the snowful sky / In this pale December
Fingers my clear eye / Lest seeing I remember

Not the naked baby / Weeping in the stable
Nor the singing boys / All round my table.

Not the dizzy star / Bursting on the pane
Nor the leopard sun / Pawing the rain

Only the deep garden / Where green lillies grow
And the sailors rolling / In the sea's blue snow.

Sailor's CaroGordon Bok's Version of Sailor's Carol
(Sorry, it's a pop-up with ads, and it'll roll into other songs if you don't close/stop it...
I'm still learning how to drive this thing!)

A Solstice Reflection

There are few things on this wide planet, fulsome with awe as winter dusk coming down hard under the weight of snow.

It's a time to draw oneself together. Batten your hatches and stoke your fires against the coming night. The loon's cry never sounded so beautiful, as winging across darkling water. Never the light so gorgeous as when it fades away.

I'm not worried. The mere fact of a night passage no longer taunts me with fears of the dark. Night sailing in inshore waters has its own tricks and techniques (I'll write about these, another time). Play it safe, work your vessel from point to point, keep your focus and you'll do fine.

And yet. And yet. Winter nights are long. The eye strains after what it cannot see. The mind, working hard to cast meager perception as coherent picture, may lapse into a moment's misorientation, brief but shaking. When snow wraps you close about... when wind and water, compass and lead are the only clues, save only the sometime alarm of breakers. When Darkness and Death - those ancient companions - lean on your shoulder, whispering mutiny. It helps to have something to take the mind in hand; to lead it in docile circles when it wants to fret and shy.

Sailor's Carol is one of my favorites. Couldn't quite say what it means. All my favorite poems seem a little inscrutable to me; brimfull of vivid imagery, bright as dream. But Gordon Bok's rendition is perfect for singing, over and over in that awe-full dark of snow and cold, on a night crowded with mortal reflection. I pass it on to you in hopes it pleases and comforts.

Happy Solstice, and a fair Yuletide to you, and all who sail upon her!


1 comment:

  1. A pleasant summing up as we mid-50s latters crest the solstice darkness and start the wonderful slide to the bright and promising days of spring. Let the worlds greedsters and powermongers "smote their ruins upon the mountainside" as we sidestep their angry vortex and choose a debt free, paid off home, lots of free time in nature path. Longer days now: each one!!