Armada

Armada

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

 

A nursery governess stood and stared
At a hundred and fifty ships,
That lay in the Harbour at Lisbon where
They loaded each Galleass,
They bristled with brass and iron guns
With cannon and shot to spare,
And thousands of Spanish soldiers, heading
For England, do or dare!
 
A girl from a gentle Sussex home,
She thought of her father's fate,
A bluff, old-fashioned seafarer
Who had sailed with Francis Drake,
But this was surely the grandest fleet
That ever had put to sea,
Since Christ had walked on the water
On that lake, in Galilee.
 
She took up her parchment, dipped the quill
And wrote to a face unknown,
She knew that the King of Spain would seek
To usurp Elizabeth's throne,
Her countrymen must be forewarned
Must all be made to see!
She wrote: 'A massive Armada sails
To seize your good country!'
 
She thrust it into a bottle that
Had held fine Spanish wine,
Then sealed the top with a plug of wax
To keep the message dry.
She flung it over the nearest cliff,
It drifted out to sea,
A message, meant for Sir Francis Drake
And all his company.
 
The bottle had bobbed on the surface as
The governess knelt and prayed,
'Dear Lord, deliver me just one thing
That England might be saved!
I'm merely an English governess,
Not versed in tricks or guile,
But if I could save dear England, then
My life had been worthwhile.'
 
The bottle still bobbed in the Channel, then
Was swept due south and west,
Right out to the mid-Atlantic swell
It made its way, unblessed,
For thirty years it had bobbled about,
Remained unseen by man,
Then landed in Plymouth Harbour, and
Lay careless on the sand.
 
The tribe who discovered it couldn't read,
They thought that it was a sign,
The gods had sent them a message, locked
In a glass that smelt of wine.
The parchment lay in a curl inside
But nothing would set it free,
It said: 'A massive Armada sails
To seize your good country!'
 
There followed a ship with billowing sails,
And men with a paler skin,
The lettering spelt 'The Mayflower',
They just couldn't read it then.
They threw the bottle back into the sea
To rid the land of its curse,
But soon the others came billowing in,
The 'Mayflower' was the first!
 
While over in Sussex there lived a maid,
Who once was a governess,
For one great day in a humble life,
She thought, had seen her blessed!
She thought of the sailor who'd read her note,
Who'd plucked it out from the sea,
And routed the Spanish Armada - 'Thanks
To Francis Drake, and me!'
 
She never would know, the bottle was still
Afloat by the eastern coast,
For thirty years in the Caribbean
Her message floated, lost.
It came ashore at Spanish Town
Its message was there to see,
It said: 'A mighty Armada sails
To seize your good country!'
 
And then came the English buccaneers,
Port Royal, their pirate den,
The Spaniards lost Jamaica to
The Fleet of William Penn,
The bottle floated away once more
To travel the world around,
In Sussex, a humble governess
Was planted, there in the ground.
 
A hundred and thirty years went by,
The bottle had floated still,
Until it discovered that Southern Land
Of virgin green and hill,
It came ashore at Port Jackson, lay
Unheeded by the sea,
Was brought ashore by a warrior,
An Aborigine.
 
He never had seen its like, he tried
To understand its creed,
The message was plainly visible
If only he could read,
While back in Sussex, stood the stone
Now powdered where she lay,
A humble Sussex governess
Whose message ruled the day.
 
The First Fleet came in '88,
And drove them from the shore,
This seemingly great Armada that
Would launch Australia.
He threw the bottle back, in hopes,
This Aborigine,
That the ships would sail away again -
But this would never be!
 
That bottle, chipped and scarred by time
Went round the world once more,
A hundred and fifty years or so
Before it came ashore,
But then the Great Armada sailed
The greatest yet by far,
That final message was waiting there,
On a beach called 'Omaha!'
 
David Lewis Paget

© 2012 David Lewis Paget



My Review

Would you like to review this Poem?
Login | Register




Featured Review

Great stuff. This has a mystical appeal to a British heart. Yes, we fended off the damned invaders with their absolutist ways and went on to smash them up and conquor the world here and there, ourselves becoming the ruination of many innocent peoples. It's popular to revise English history in a dim light, and apologise for the way we were, but I don't agree with that. It is absurd to be ashamed of how we were. Values were different then and should not be judged by present day views. There is a what goes round comes round note in your poem, except that there is no sense of cumuppance, with the sons of the Anglo-Saxon wanderers coming back to storm Europe in the cause of decency. We fended off invavdors, became invadors and then invaders again, but in a good cause. It's a great read for anyone who values British history. Alas, Britain is now being absorbed into that amorphous European mass with those in Brussel seeking 'homogonisation'. Where is the governess now to throw a bottle? Rome, Naopleon, and a later dictator wld be delighted to see Churchill's island race brough to heel.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

Great stuff. This has a mystical appeal to a British heart. Yes, we fended off the damned invaders with their absolutist ways and went on to smash them up and conquor the world here and there, ourselves becoming the ruination of many innocent peoples. It's popular to revise English history in a dim light, and apologise for the way we were, but I don't agree with that. It is absurd to be ashamed of how we were. Values were different then and should not be judged by present day views. There is a what goes round comes round note in your poem, except that there is no sense of cumuppance, with the sons of the Anglo-Saxon wanderers coming back to storm Europe in the cause of decency. We fended off invavdors, became invadors and then invaders again, but in a good cause. It's a great read for anyone who values British history. Alas, Britain is now being absorbed into that amorphous European mass with those in Brussel seeking 'homogonisation'. Where is the governess now to throw a bottle? Rome, Naopleon, and a later dictator wld be delighted to see Churchill's island race brough to heel.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

I really thought it was great how you used the bottle to tie events together. Really nice peice but I thought of it more as a story than really a poem.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

P.S.: I love the cover of Pen & Ink, particularly the inclusion of the range of photos over the 40-year period. I wish you the greatest success in sales! I think you are brilliant!

Love,

Linda Marie

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wow! This is brilliant! I love every aspect of this poem from beginning to end. Simply amazing!

Love,

Linda Marie

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

David, I read and commented on this write on one of our other sites..It isw terrific as always mate..God bless..Kathie

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Bravo - such imagination and finesse! Little did the maiden know the fates she sealed that day or the premonitions it bore.

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Excellent as always! So much history wrapped in such a novel way! You never disappoint my friend! Kudos!

Posted 7 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

How much of this world's history has been writ on her oceans! Thank you David for this reminder to be specific with any warnings we may choose to offer, and be alert to any warnings we may receive!

Posted 7 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

311 Views
8 Reviews
Rating
Added on October 20, 2009
Last Updated on June 27, 2012

Author

David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



About
more..

Writing

Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


Regrets Regrets

A Poem by Tate Morgan