The captain stood amidst his crew,
and wiped the bar for someone new.
To make them laugh he’d tell a joke
and light himself another smoke
to cover up the smell of gin,
And lasting feelings of chagrin.

The captain stood amidst his crew,
a round been drunk and payment due.
They all looked young, or he felt old,
he thought again what he’d been told
by friends he knew in younger days,
but they had gone their sundry ways.

The captain stood amidst his crew,
for some, their names he hardly knew.
They deemed him wise because of age
and thought of him a proper sage
to council others wrong from right,
though faces changed from night to night.

The captain stood amidst his crew,
another year was almost through.
Perhaps next year his life would change,
he knew that most had felt it strange
that he would stay so many years,
through endless dreams, a million tears.

The captain stood without his crew,
outside the sky turned grayish blue.
for one more night had come and gone.
He thought of the approaching dawn,
and only knew he could not wait,
to end his life at forty-eight.

“Hey captain,” said one of his crew,
A girl unnoticed, someone new,
A quiet face and pretty smile.
He asked if she would stay a while;
they talked until the break of dawn,
Emerging from a life bygone.

 

 

Phil S. Rogers is a sixth generation Vermonter, age 72, now retired, and living in Texas. He served in the United States Air Force and had a career in real estate and banking.  He previously published Everlasting Glory, a historical work that tells the story of each of the men from Vermont that was awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor during the Civil War. 


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4 Responses

  1. Joe Tessitore

    This is a great poem and another example of story-telling at it’s best.

    Reply
  2. Peter Hartley

    Phil – Yes, a very good short piece of narrative poetry with a happy ending, or what we hope will be a happy ending, well written.

    Reply
  3. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    What a Saturday morning treat. This poem romps along with rhyme, rhythm, a tale of an inner tempest and a glimmer of sunshine in the closing stanza. Wonderful! Thank you very much, Mr. Rogers.

    Reply
  4. C.B. Anderson

    Phil,

    Yes, we all like happy endings and smiley faces, but there are a few places where a bit of polish might come in handy.

    In stanza 2, line 2 “a round been drunk” makes no grammatical sense. “A round was drunk, with payment due” might solve the problem.

    In line 3 of the same stanza, more than a comma is needed at its end because in the next line you begin a new sentence.

    In stanza 3, line 4 “and thought of him” is an odd construction. “and thought he was” would be much better.

    In stanza 4, line 1 something stronger than a comma is needed at the end because you begin a new sentence in the next line. Similarly in line 3 of the same stanza.

    And again in the first line of stanza 5. In line 2 a comma , rather than a period, is required, because the next line starts with “for.”

    Overall, Phil, I liked where you went with this poem, and especially your nod to women enlisted in the military. In this regard, America is catching up with Israel.

    Also, you seem to have an innate sense for meter, which many younger poets find hard to master. But don’t get cocky — you are only one year older than I am, and I tend to piss people off.

    Reply

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