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Monday, January 16, 2012

FORLORN SENTINELS OF THE SEA


While not exactly Pulitzer Prize material, the poem convincingly summarizes the monotony and discomfort experienced by those who served aboard a type of ship that has departed the American seascape for over a quarter of a century and has been gone from European waters for about 15-yrs. A nautical purist might contend that the lightship is not really a “ship” since it doesn't really sail but it is permanently anchored in one location, except for the infrequent brief journeys to and from shipyards for annual maintenance and repair or re-positioning when powerful storms rip anchors from their hold on the seabed. As such, so the argument goes, they are more in the nature of floating, moored offshore light houses. Yet there is no denying that they were an essential part of the maritime scene - one that has been long neglected and is intimately bound up with the story of the high seas voyagers that they safeguarded.


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