Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA
The Widow’s Walk
The port was bustling by the bay, where fishing boats were docked,
Another journey loomed ahead, as sailors laughed and talked;
An organized confusion reigned, as vessels were prepared,
While wives and children lined the pier to show how much they cared.
With cargo safely ‘neath the hold, where nets and lines were stored,
The Captain made his final call … “It’s time to come aboard!”
The fog was softly rolling in, as tension filled the air,
A mist clung to the gentle breeze, as senses came aware.
The newlyweds clung to each other in the salty air,
He wore a look of kind indulgence – she, one of despair;
Only married for a week, she held her husband tight,
Unwilling to release him to the silence of the night.
He smiled and gently touched the cheek of his new, loving wife,
Reminding her these were the pitfalls of a sailor’s life.
There was no need to be afraid for he would be home soon,
And, when he did, then they would have a real honeymoon.
She saw the look of promise in her husband’s loving eyes,
And heard his tender whispers as he comforted her cries;
Her warm embrace was broken by the Captain’s final roar,
Then watched her love climb up the plank, while she remained on shore.
The ropes that anchored her to him, were loosened from their grip,
She caught his eye and waved to him as he waved from the ship …
She raced along the dock and blew him kisses as she flew,
Until the distance swallowed him into the ocean’s view.
The ship was taking goods to France – three months to there and back,
Quite vulnerable to ocean storms and enemy attack;
So many things to worry her and muddle up her mind,
The voyages were just as hard for loved ones left behind.
The weeks went by when she began, each night, to climb the stair,
And spend time on the Widow’s Walk, that was constructed there.
Hair whipping wildly in the wind, she strolled out for a sight,
Of anything that could have been a fishing vessel’s light.
She scanned the vast horizon, off and on as days went by,
Anticipating his return … a twinkle in her eye;
The doctor had confirmed what she suspected for a while …
She rubbed her belly … “Soon” … she prayed, and gave a little smile.
She gazed across the ocean and she heaved a heavy sigh,
“It won’t be long,” she whispered, for three months had passed her by.
She paced along the Widow’s Walk, expecting she would see,
A sign that he was coming home to their new family.
Another week had passed her by – another week – then more …
Along the Widow Walk, her steps rang out on hardwood floor.
There’d been no news of her man’s ship – nobody knew a thing,
The town wives waited fearfully for news each day could bring.
She fought the rising of her fears with every breath she took,
Each night she strolled out to the sea, and tried her best to look,
And see a glimmer of a spark illuminating night,
A signal that her man was safe and they would be all right.
The child within her slowly grew, with every passing day,
Reminding her the length of time that he had been away;
His ship was six months overdue the night his son was born,
Her joy was laced with sorrow, as she cried into the morn.
In weakened state, she gathered up her son and held him tight,
Then traced her route toward the Widow’s Walk in early light;
She stood upon the weathered boards and clutched her newborn son,
Then walked the path she knew so well until the night was done.
*~* *~* *~*
So that’s the way my life began, those 30 years ago,
What happened to my father? I guess we will never know.
Mom trod the Widow’s Walk each night, for 20 years or more,
Until at last, God’s angels came a-knocking at her door.
I have a small son of my own to brighten up my day,
We’ve lived in this same house since Momma gently passed away.
The sailing ships go out no longer like they did back then,
And Widow’s Walks are just a symbol of life way back when.
On windy nights when strong winds blow, the boards creak pretty bad …
At times my son gets startled, and he cries out “What’s that, dad?”
I smile and say “Don’t worry, son,” and take him by the hand,
And say … “That’s Grandma, Widow Walking, waiting for her man.”
/Balladeer and Kit McCallum\