Dark Waters, by Gilbert Huntly [*POEM*]

Dark Waters

Dark waters to navigate;
A fractured mast, I fear.
So far to sail, so deep to sound,
No star by which to steer!

No smiling moon illuminates;
No beacon’s guiding light
Does offers hope, nor tend to ease
This journey into Night.

And to my God I pray now
This voyage soon to end—
And steer my craft and tortured sail
Into a milder wind;

To drift into the sunshine;
To lift my spirits high;
To still this storm which tears my soul,
Then beach me there, to die!

See also Gilbert Huntley’s No Return

18 thoughts to “Dark Waters, by Gilbert Huntly [*POEM*]”

  1. Mr Huntly, you have written a moving poem. “The sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought,” said Shelley. And this is certainly a sad and somber poem which is perfectly illustrated by the sad and somber picture that accompanies it.

    I am glad also that you make use of rhyme and meter, avoiding the chopped-up prose called “free verse”.

  2. Pretty grim, puzzling and also insulting, actually.

    Let’s see..

    Right off the bat … Why do you want to die now that your spirit has been lifted?
    Lifted by God (as requested/prayed/begged), no less..

    OK, He lifts your spirit, you’re now drifting into the sunshine, and … why do you still want to die and to top it all off, blame God?
    “Then beach me there, to die!’

    I have my own name for this poem –
    How can I dis Thee, Lord? Let me count the ways.

    1) pray to God when in trouble like He’s an order taker waiting to serve you.

    2) expect God to come to your rescue. And He actually does! Didn’t He?
    If not, then why do you ask/pray/beg?

    3) WORST of all – you accuse God of malfeasance! Blame God for your own desires.
    “To still this storm which tears my soul, Then beach me there, to die!”

    4) What rhymes with – you ungrateful bastard!!!

    Nothing personal.
    Just sayin’

    1. What rhymes with – you ungrateful bastard!!!

      Nothing personal.
      Just sayin’

      Tsk, tsk!

      A somewhat uncharitable critique, dear Homer, of a poem that has been obviously wrung from the heart. You must judge the poem by its sincerity! And sincerity it has in spades.

      You are like someone who reads a heart-rending suicide note and, instead of responding to it by being moved to tears, comment in a somewhat churlish and curmudgeonly fashion, “Oh, what an ungrateful bastard this person is! God gave him life and hope, and here he goes and hangs himself!” 🙂

      This is Huntly’s version of De Profundis. “Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord!”

      Consider where your logic leads you, Homer. If the poet here is an “ungrateful bastard” for having his spirits uplifted by God at one moment and then wanting to die at the next, how is he any different to Jesus Christ who cried out on the cross, “Eli eli lama sabachtani! — Lord, Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?”

      1. You are very charitable, dear lady, to put in a good word for Gilbert. But maybe hp has a point. Gilbert has just revealed that he had never heard of Rachel Corrie until he read your poem on Rachel Corrie yesterday!!!

        What does that tell you about Gilbert?

        On what planet has he been living all these years?

  3. Ha! We would, I believe, ALL prefer to live peaceful lives, then perish in a lovely place (or am I misguided about that, too, dear critic?). Anyhow, to answer your inquiry as to my whereabouts – I have been so preoccupied with other matters, I have neglected to home-into foreign places and foreign affairs. I am an American. You know how we are about ourselves – very self-centered. I hope that pisses you off.

    Furthermore, I am a farmer in Virginia. I reside in the type of place for which millions of people slave their lives away all year in order to spend two weeks’ vacation. God has been very good. I hope that pisses you off, too.

    1. No offense meant, Gilbert. I thought your poems were great. You have a definite gift for language. I was moved by both your poems, though I think “Dark Waters” is marginally my favorite. The images are beautiful and the rhythms hauntingly musical.

      No, you got me wrong, Gilbert. I was simply expressing surprise at the fact that you had never heard of Rachel Corrie. I wasn’t making a negative remark about your poetry. Wouldn’t dream of it, considering the only poem I ever wrote was a limerick that no one I knew ever found funny. (When I recited it to my wife, she said she’d divorce me.)

      As you say, you live a rural life in Virginia and don’t take much interest in foreign affairs, so maybe it’s no big deal that you’ve never heard of this American political activist, Rachel Corrie, who was murdered in Israel a few years ago.

      If you want to find out more about Rachel, I would strongly recommend this moving article by Lasha Darkmoon, written last year to celebrate the 8th anniversary of Rachel’s death:


  4. Thank you all.
    A tongue in cheek exercise and I admit a little effort of digging into hearts and minds.
    We all need honest critiquing at times.
    We all get dishonest critiquing regularly. That Krishnamurti quote comes to mind.
    “No measure of health…”

    “You must judge the poem by its sincerity!”
    Isn’t that exactly what what I did? I found the poem guilty of borderline blasphemy!
    Xanadu! Are you saying I’m not sincere as well?
    That tsk tsk hurt profoundly! I might have hanged myself if not for an abnormal fear of betraying the Lord ala Homer (in your face Lord) Simpson.

    Hey, I was pretty rough on Homer Simpson and his Catholic cohorts a while back.
    No one objected one whit!

    Guess what? The whole world is heart wrung, twisted, shredded, screwed, blued and tattooed.
    Your very own poems, Xanadu, magnify this very theme, this damnable reality.

    Sometimes (quite often) people get carried away by their passions and brew up a need to inject futility and hopelessness into everyday life.

    De Profundis. “Out of the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord!”

    Who hasn’t? What’s so profound about such a prevalent human default position?
    You know, the old please help me Lord and I’ll never forget you, trick.
    This goes on all day, every day, every where.
    Hardly profound. Insulting, ungrateful and weak, yes. But profound?

    “how is he any different to Jesus Christ”
    I can’t believe you even said that!! Shame on you!

    “Ha! We would, I believe, ALL prefer to live peaceful lives, then perish in a lovely place (or am I misguided about that, too, dear critic?).”

    Mr. Huntley you’re a good sport. I appreciate your civility, even as I stray from the same for a bit of selfish inquiry (and a little fun).
    To clarify my position a bit, here’s my honest belief, my death wish, as it were.

    “the firing squad is good enough for me.”

    Hope that helps!

    Thanks again, for the interesting perspectives.

  5. Xanadu! Are you saying I’m not sincere as well?
    That tsk tsk hurt profoundly!

    Oh gosh, sorry about that! Actually, I paused long and hard between the gentle cruelty of “tsk tsk” and the shocking sadism of “tut tut” and decided to use the gentler “tsk tsk” which on the whole my victims tend to survive — as you have!

    Seriously though—and this is a thought Gilbert would do well to bear in mind before taking offense so easily—there’s a great deal of wisdom in that comment in the Book of Revelation: As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.

    1. Now I’m left wondering what, if anything, could possibly be more profound, inspiring and poetic than kind humor in a woman?

      I can only imagine good reviews.

  6. Sardonicus, I appreciate your citing of the Rachel Corrie link. I have now read it, and am aware of the heroine. I have, also, read some of the divisive and diverse commentary – which leads me only to state that I, myself, would have tried to impede my own daughter from such activity. Seeing her endearing countenance, then the resultant mayhem, is enough to make a father go to war. Whether she was right or wrong is not for me to say from what little I know – only that I have to agree with one of the commentaries that it is a pity to see our white girls so deformed by political passion.

    As I have grown older, I have developed an appreciation for crusades against injustice. I understand others who take up the gauntlet. However, let it be us men who lock blades and trade bullets. Our women should be more precious to us. They are the guarantee of our progeny. We may not always get along with them – but we sure as hell cannot get along without them.

    Yes, thank you, hp; I AM a “good sport”. What is there to gain, otherwise?

  7. Thank you.

    My friend asked me to write a little haiku to describe the Pittsburgh Steelers versus New York Giants big big game. In Jersey Sunday, right after the monster storm.

    And it was quite a dramatic game with tsunami like adversity (blatant referee cheating). Fought to the end like Steelers and Giants do.
    So in this spirit I gave it my best shot! What do you think?

    Refs hand Giants two
    Steelers hand Giants their ass
    All’s well that ends well!

    1. jessels pome

      ooooh! u r making
      me jellus riting pomes like
      this. its so unfare!

      / sorry about my spellin, but i am onely 14 and dislecksick.
      buy 4 now…
      jessel meyer

    1. jessel,

      You are very creative. And very smart.

      Write fiction! You’re off to a good start!


  8. Better yet, Jessel!

    Isn’t there wood to fetch and water to tote?
    The boys to men are waiting along the way to catch a glimpse (or two) of you.
    You’re not getting any younger..

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