The Steamship Southern Star

The Steamship Southern Star

A Poem by David Lewis Paget

My friend signed on to a coastal ship

His name, John Escobar,

He said, for only a week long trip

On the Steamship Southern Star.

While I worked out of the office of

The Southern Shipping Line,

To keep in touch with our fleet of ships,

But the Southern Star was mine.

They said that ship was a special case

It was fitted out so well,

They joked of equipment so refined

It could sail clear through to hell.

I’d noticed bulges down on the hull

But under the waterline,

They told me to keep an eye on it

When they said that it was mine.

It sailed on out of Ascension Bay

When the tide was running high,

The motor gave out a whisper like

The sound of a woman’s sigh,

It wasn’t supposed to leave the coast

But it went far out to sea,

And kept in touch with the dit-dit-dit

Of John on the morse code key.

He tapped a message out every hour

And I let him know I knew,

The ship was sailing way off its course

And lost to the coastal view,

He said the Captain was acting strange

He was locked up by the wheel,

That all the maps had been rearranged

And that something wasn’t real.

At midnight there was a message came

To me in a darkened room,

It said, ‘I don’t know what’s going on

But we just sailed past the Moon.’

I sent, ‘Just lay off the Bourbon, John,

If this is John Escobar,’

And he replied that the Captain died,

‘And I don’t know where we are.’

He sent more messages on the hour

And they seemed to grow apace,

By midday out on the second day,

‘We’re somewhere in outer space.’

I didn’t know if he’d gone berserk

But we’d lost the Southern Star,

It disappeared, and the thing was weird,

When I lost John Escobar.

The messages gradually petered out

So I don’t know if he lied,

He said some things about Saturn’s rings

And then the battery died.

I lost my job at the shipping line

For they put it down to me,

They said, ‘your ship was the Southern Star,

And you’ve lost the thing at sea.’

David Lewis Paget

© 2017 David Lewis Paget

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Another well told story David.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Maybe a good retirement. Old ship and Captain was struggling. Thank you David for sharing the entertaining story.

Posted 3 Years Ago

another masterpiece - I always love to read your work, so clever, funny and such good stories - bravo :)

Posted 4 Years Ago

this is simply incredible, hooked through every line.

Posted 4 Years Ago

Delightful! And I so enjoyed the story set in fantasy of the world beyond ours; to think a ship sailed all the way to the rings of Saturn and beyond gives one a vivid snapshot of just what might be with us one day in the future. Can't you just see that witch on her broom slipping 'cross the moon?
I like the name of the ship too as it relates to the constellations via the North Star-clever indeed!

Posted 4 Years Ago

Your childlike imagination with wisdom acquired with experience churn out wonderful stories. Always an entertaining read.

Posted 4 Years Ago

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6 Reviews
Added on June 4, 2017
Last Updated on June 4, 2017


David Lewis Paget
David Lewis Paget

Moonta, South Australia, Australia



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