Ship in a Bottle

Ship in a Bottle

A Poem by H L Rose

1 Chorinthians 50-58 Attempt at prose...I need help

The sun’s light spills past the window sill of a quiet 19th century study. It falls upon sleeping books placed along bookshelves that line the walls, and upon an empty chair behind a large Victorian desk. On the desk lay a bronze compass, ruler, and numerous cartography tools along with a globe displayed on a bronze stand. 

Among the items lays also a glass bottle containing a small amount of water and a beautifully crafted miniature ship with ores laying out on both sides, white sails, and a navy blue hull. 

The door to the study creaks as little feet creep from behind it and up to the grand desk. The water within the bottle shifts as little fingers pick it up and peer in at its contents. 

The waves torment the hull. The sails are wearing. The crew rows hard against the tempest. 

“Keep it up men!” yells the first mate. Wind and water wears his clothes to rags, his skin cold. He looks up towards the foredeck where his captain stands. They had gotten no closer to the heavenly ring visible before them. 

“...Tis the hour.” 

“What was that captain?” Yells the first mate. 

“Our troubles shall end.” 

The wind carries his words, a rasp whisper.  

“Behold, a mystery. 
We shall not all sleep, 
But we shall all be changed, 
In a moment, 
In the twinkling of an eye.” 

“Captain?” Calls the first mate again. 

“I tell you this my brothers!” The crew holds onto the ship as a large wave crashes into the hull. 

“Where we are going  
Flesh and blood cannot enter!” 

The captains words boom across the deck. 

“For this perishable body must put on immortality!” 

The ship leans hard to one side. The crew grits their teeth, struggling with their ores. 

“Tis the hour!” Exclaims the captain. 
“That the saying shall come to pass! 
Death, where is your victory? 
O death! Where is your sting?” 

“Captain!” Yells the first mate again. “The foremast!” The splintering of the wooden pillar echoes through the ears of the crew. 

“Tis the time!” comes the captain once more. 

“Therefore, my beloved brothers 
Be steadfast,  

He stares at the ring ahead. The cork was opening. 

“The trumpet is sounding.” He said softly. 

“Captain!” Cries the first mate again. 

The foremast comes falling across the deck. 

Then with a jolt the wind shifts and the waves lessen. The ship thrusts forward through the opening of the bottle.  

© 2019 H L Rose

Author's Note

H L Rose
I’m thinking this is lacking but I don’t know where to start so any critiques would be really appreciated! Just tear it apart! Please and thank you!

My Review

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The ease of you story is delightful. It is charming as is. You set the stage for the reader. Then with the opening of the door you ask us to air out our imagination. A real treat.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Months Ago

H L Rose

9 Months Ago

Thank you! I'm glad you find the stage set well.
I don't see this as lacking . . . it's brilliant in imagination! To go from a ship in a bottle, to living out a tempest sea as if sailing this ship . . . making such a leap of imagination means way more than whatever nit-picky business you are harping on, in your head. We can always get a friend or an editor to smooth things out if you think it needs it (I don't). But the one thing you cannot buy is this kind of imagination. The sheer creativity of your story is what it's all about in writing. Practice is the only way to improve on the details (((HUGS))) Fondly, Margie

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 9 Months Ago

H L Rose

9 Months Ago

Imaginative was the goal! I'm glad you think so and like it!
I like this. This is well written. I love the dialog and how the story came from inside the little bottle. Some things I am confused on; is it a ship or a rowboat with oars? And what does the captain want?

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago

H L Rose

11 Months Ago

I’m kind of picturing one somewhat like this: read more
Waiting for the trumpet to sound. I loved it.
You set the stage magically.
I know the feeling when a piece is so close to being completed. But I feel like something is not perfect.
Read it outloud until each word rings perfect.
Make a list of what you want it to convey and how you want each part to be received. Check to see if anything is missing from that list, just keep editing until you are content.
I found it to be very enjoyable

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago

H L Rose

11 Months Ago

I am glad you did enjoy it! That is useful advice! Thank you!
Edit, edit, edit. There are lots of things that a careful edit would have shown you.

Okay, this is a daydream a kid has as he assembles a model. You know it. But the reader, fools that they are, think you’re telling them a real story as they read because that’s how you present it.

That aside, a lot of this story, the part that would have given the reader context, remains in your head. When you read, it makes sense because you have background, knowledge of the scene, and your intent to guide you. But the reader? They have only what the words to any given point suggest, based on THEIR background.

• The waves tormented the hull.
What can this mean to a reader who doesn’t know where we are, who we are, or what’s going on. Only you know that. Only you know this is only a religious fantasy

You can’t have “the waves” as against “waves”when we’ve not been placed on the sea, or in a boat. You’re talking to the reader about what’s happening in the scene in your mind, without giving them the scene. And that means nothing to someone you’ve not placed in that scene. Who are these people? Dunno. Were are they bound? You never say.

And as a minor, but critical point, given that you know nothing about sailing a boat in a storm, you can’t write about one, meaningfully. Research, research, research. Make it real for the reader. And to do that you must know the reality of what’s going on in the scene.

And as a side comment, look up the word torment, and ask yourself how water can torment a ship’s hull.

• Pulling harder on the ropes, the crew held tight against the tempest.

One does not handle a ship in a storm by pulling on ropes. And given that we don’t know what these ropes lead to, pulling “harder” seems not to have meaning.

• They had gotten no closer the past year than they had the past decade.

Closer to what? You know. The men on the boat know. It might be nice if the reader knew, given that you wrote it for them.

Bottom line: You need to take the time to do it right. You need to give your characters reason to act—reasons that make sense to the reader; reasons that are prompted by something the reader is aware of.

Do some digging in the local library’s fiction-writing section on technique.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago

H L Rose

11 Months Ago

May I ask for any inicial opinions on the changes though I know this will require more and more edit.. read more

11 Months Ago

Instead of editing with the tools you now own, which will yield the same result, expressed a bit dif.. read more
H L Rose

11 Months Ago

Ah yes one can never read enough and I have much more to learn. Thanks for your time and advice!
What a great metaphor and symbolism for death! Usin a ship in a bottle is brilliant! Showing how a ship is trapped in it's bottle on it's trip out! Nice job!!!! The waves rock against the boat but it's jouney remains straight to heaven!!!

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago

H L Rose

11 Months Ago

Thanks so much! I’m so glad that came across!

11 Months Ago

No problem! :D

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7 Reviews
Added on November 16, 2018
Last Updated on February 11, 2019
Tags: Prose


H L Rose
H L Rose

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