by mikesteeden

A lullaby for the exposed stowaways, the very least the First Mate could do
In the safety of his quarterdeck cabin, away from the attentions of the rest of the crew
Outward bound from Havana, on a paddle steamer under auxiliary sail
Keeps an even keel in a big sea, keeps a straight line in the face of a gale
Black tea, bully beef and oat biscuits, from the galley were all he could filch
She stuffs it down as if there’s no tomorrow, nods, says, ‘It has to be better than zilch’
The babe at her breast falls asleep now, Brahms soft cradle song works once again
By candlelight and eerie shadows, to the restless creak of the hull under strain
He asks the girl for her story, what took her from her plantation to here
Yet a reticence quite overwhelms her, she just responds, ‘I had to disappear’
Port of Rotterdam bound and a new old life, ‘You won’t tell The Master you’ve hidden us away?’
He draws on his clay pipe, thinking out loud, ‘I’ll do my level best to keep him at bay
Try best you can to keep the child quiet, and just leave whatever else up to me’
She takes his words of comfort at face value, rests her fate in the hands of a cruel sea
Sea serpents, two weeks and a full moon later, at harbour side she seeks out a new hiding place
Now disguised as an Ordinary Seaman, her babe tucked up safe and sound in her travelling suitcase
On the bank of the Nieuwe Maas river, the First Mate kisses his charges farewell
A respectful peck on the cheek for the fine lady, a tearful smacker upon the brow of her little girl
A hurriedly arranged a coach-and-four awaits her, she a blue blood white princess so brave
And at last sanctuary for her girl child, fathered by her lost lover, a callously murdered black slave

Should my latest book take your fancy it can be purchased from AMAZON in PAPERBACK form or on regular KINDLE as well as for FREE on KINDLE UNLIMITED. To access, click on the picture below.

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