Bill Meilen
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Akbar Songs
Introduction - 0
View from above upon arrival - 1
First Akbar door - 2
Gear - 3
Meeting the Division - 4
First Communion at Akbar - 5
Shepherd - 6
Lights out - 7
Vultures - 8
Get h’on Parade! - 9
Bandy - 10
Wakey–wakey! - 11
Smartening rig - 12
Economy Star - 13
Poetry Club - 14
The Writer - 15
The Skipper - 16
Boating - 17
Seamanship - 18
The Skipper's Kippers - 19
Moot Court - 20
Dirty Mary - 21
Cross–country - 22
Sailorboy - 23
Church Parade - 24
Fellini fragment on Jildy - 25
Deckscrap - 26
Cinderella Days - 27
Long Tom for 'Dead Men' - 28
Waiting for Podmore - 29
Akbar - 30
The Path - 31
Seamanship
In Seamanship you learned
to bend and hitch
Everything in the
Bosun's Manual.
Over the months
thumbs and fingers grow strong
To pierce the lays
of two–inch gantline hemp
Ply splices in the willing
fibre rope
Make heaving–lines with
monkey–fisted ends
Weave turksheads, bellropes,
gauds for dressing ship
Learning boats
from garboard strake
to gunwhale.
Rigging every purchase–tackle,
Luff on luff — Handy Billy,
Six–sheave hardwood rig–blocks
painters' stages,
Sailing, catamaran.
With palm and needle
you plied new sail–cloth
Sang chanteys as you stitched,
rejoiced in jute.
Here the kid learned balance—and how to read
The aesthetic message
of ships' ropework.