Force Ten

Far off to the west of the west of the Denmark Strait, Force Ten
Conceived in anger from the spawn of hate, FT
Out of the womb of terror torn, the Widow-Maker she was born,
Her very breath brought fear and death, FT FT

The icy seas turned boiling by her wrath,
It’s woe betide what’s standing in her path,
Steam trawler Goth from Fleetwood Town, out on the Arctic fishing grounds,
No hiding place a gale to face.

No time to heed the warning when it came,
The Widow-Maker lives up to her name,
Rampaging fast across the sea, shrieking like some wild banshee,
No shelter’s near, the storms severe,

No final message telling of distress,
Ill-fated Goth, her fate we can but guess,
Top heavy from the frozen spray, for wind and waves an easy prey,
And twenty brave men in their graves,

In Mary’s church, a woman kneels to pray,
For the Goth, as hopes all slowly fade away,
“Shine Stella Maris, on the sea, and bring my man home safe to me.”
She wept it seemed the heavens slept.

Somewhere off Iceland, cold on the ocean floor,
Goth’s added to the Widow Maker’s score,
Way up aloft we’ll meet her crew, God willing when our time falls due,
On Heaven’s shore when there’s no more Force Ten!

When fifty years had dulled the sad regret,
Goth’s funnel caught a fishing trawler’s net,
Icelandic skipper he was born the very day the Goth went down
Now we know where to say our prayers, and curse Force Ten.

Beyond Cape Farewell, west of the Denmark Strait,
Another Widow Maker’s at the gate,
Shipping forecast loud and clearsays “Strong winds gusting, Gales severe .
Force Nine maybe but locally Force Ten.”

© Ron Baxter & Bob Watson 2005

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