Poetry - Aubrey Pearce



An Act of Bravery
Come listen to me and you shall hear A tale of long ago When I was just a child-in-arms ‘Twas by my father told. He was on the ice one day With his brother and two more When the wind shifted to the west And drove the ice off shore. They managed each to get a tow And soon were homeward bent To try to reach the inside ice That was their full intent. They knew the ice had left the shore The wind blew from the land But hope still lingered in the breast Of each and every man. Undaunted still they struggled on Until - ‘tis sad to say - They knew all hope had vanished They were drifting out the bay. With hope of rescue now all gone The largest pan was found To hold themselves and all their seals While drifting o'er the ground. The wind which though light at first By now blew half a gale And carried them away from land Just like a boat with sail. Imagine now then if you can The thoughts of every man For not one of the entire crew Expected to reach the land. They did not know they had been seen By someone on the shore Who went to look for succor Twelve weary miles or more. He travelled all along the shore To try and bring them aid And found in Catalina Courageous men indeed. The man that travelled up the shore Those sealers' lives to save Was Jobey Cole of Elliston A man both true and brave. To Little Catalina menfolk He told the sealers' plight Who knew the task before them Was a hard one to fight. But soon a boat was fitted out And manned by seaman brave To try to rescue those poor souls Out on the ocean wave. No cowardly soul was in that boat Their lives and sealers too Were in the hands of God above So thought each of the crew. A gale of wind was blowing The sea was getting rough To try to reach those weary men They found the going tough. With all their strength they pushed her through, until they reached the pan And there received with joyful shouts The hand of every man. Sandy Johnson was the skipper (I do not know the crew) But each and every man of them Was loyal, brave and true. While homeward bout the sealers told Those brave men of their plight How once the pan they had just left Went to pieces in their sight. They had no thought of rescue But when they saw the boat Come from the land toward them Their hearts were filled with hope. There was no motor in this boat. To aid them in their plight They only had the brawny arms Of men with oars to fight. Half frozen were those sealers Before they reached the shore Wet through with spray that came aboard Though some did man the oar. Sometimes no headway could they make The wind being not yet o'ver But after many weary hours At last they reached the shore. Happy were those sealers then Their families soon to see The places they belonged to Were the Neck and Maberly. We cannot praise too highly The courage of this crew. Who gave their all at duty's call The best that man can do. Long may they be remembered Long may this writing stand A tribute to a gallant crew That brought those men to land.


Aubrey Pearce (1894-1977) Maberly Resident


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