Candle On The Water

He has no memory of arriving in port 
The sea is cruel, using sailors as sport
He serves aboard a merchant ship
Seeing the world in a decade trip

Sailing toward a land he may never have seen 
The Captain he serves is being keen 
The profits to be had, there are many 
Their full hold will provide a pretty penny

As the storm rises, the crew feels superstitious 
Under their hull, the rocks might be vicious
Off in the distance, there is a shimmering light 
A candle on the water, a guide through storm’s blight

A woman stands on the balcony tower 
The storm of the sea gaining in power 
Overhead, the lighthouse shines bright 
She remains waiting through the night

Although ten years alone have been stark
By day she tends the lighthouse spark
Each night she ends her duty upon the tower 
Never an evening does she shirk or cower

Her youth and bloom are almost gone 
If her sailor returns, would his love be forgone? 
A storm like this had taken her man 
Her love remains no matter the span

The sailor rides the crow’s nest 
“Land Ho!” He proclaims their ending quest 
He looks to the lighthouse to guide their vessel
In the shimmering glow he sees a woman special

Memories explode within. The sailor loses his grip 
He clings to the ropes. “Esme?” on his lip 
Shame fills his sailor heart for the promises he has broken 
Would she forgive him the decade he has forsaken?

Paid off and free, he walks the steps of the lighthouse 
In his pocket is a ring and the hope of becoming a spouse 
He knocks on the heavy door and waits for it to unlock 
In the doorway is his beautiful Esme, her face filled with shock

“Patrick, is it you?” 
Her voice is trembling and true 
“Aye,” the sailor confesses 
He takes in her eyes and tresses

Her hand flashes forward, slapping his cheek 
The sailor’s eyes water, his emotions bleak 
He recounts his tale of shipwreck on a beach 
Of the long years of his memory leach

Remembering his pledge he pulls forth a ring 
“If you will still have me,” he asks with no sting
She looks at him square in the face 
He is not certain she will accept him apace

Then her eyes crinkle in a becoming fashion 
She gives him her hand and a nod of passion 
Patrick slips the ring on her finger and takes her in his arms 
He will remain here, trading ships for farms


About the Poet
Wendy Van Camp writes science fiction, regency romance, and scifaiku. No Wasted Ink is her blog which features essays, poetry, flash fiction, and author interviews. Wendy’s stories and poems appear in magazines such as “Quantum Visions”, “Scifaikuest”, and “Far Horizons”. She has won Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest and is a graduate of the James Gunn Speculative Fiction Workshop.