Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Salty Poetry

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

salty poetry title

You might send a text to inform a friend, I’m working on my boat today. Craig Parmelee Carter, also known as The Salty Bard, might instead write:

It’s a ceaseless discussion at every marina,

Should you finish the teak or just let it patina.

You can let it turn silver, in an interim stage,

But the wood grain will raise — she won’t gracefully age.

The Salty Bard book cover Up in SmokeThat passage takes a day spent prepping a vessel to a grand level, doesn’t it? This splendid elevation of the everyday is on every page of Carter’s collection of boat-centric poems, Up in Smoke. His poems are approachable and relatable on subjects such as attending a yacht club party, describing the characters he meets at the dock, enduring the pain of a tattoo to look the part of a seafarer, the lengthy and expensive learning curve that comes with sailing, and restoring the wooden whaling ship Charles W. Morgan.

Carter describes himself as “a writer of fiction, nautical narrative, and yarn.” Up in Smoke, his first book of poetry, is dedicated to his grandfathers, who each owned waterside cottages nearby each other.

“I was privileged to a wonderful childhood, exploring tidal pools, swimming, fishing, and boating at an early age. One grandfather wrote whimsical poetry as a hobby and the other was the quintessential Yankee, forever clamming and never without his pipe,” Carter recalls. Craig Parmalee Carter

In Up in Smoke, vessels are bought, boats are sold, memories are fraught, brightwork stripping is bold. Yes, there’s that ode to wood that I mentioned at the beginning, in a poem called Stripping Lady Hamilton. The poem has a sauciness through which the poet’s love for all things nautical appears clearly, despite the smoke of the title.

By Lita Smith-Mines

webPlus_web_green1  Read an excerpt of the book



By Craig Parmelee Carter


Bluewater sailboat

Full keel heavy displacement

One restless skipper


Fisherman anchor

Three-hundred feet of chain

Hope the windlass works


Varnishing brightwork

Brings complements at the dock

Ages fast at sea


Tripple reefed mainsail

All lines led aft to cockpit

Become spaghetti


Batteries in flux

Solar panel offsets loads

It’s all about amps


Sea water foot pump

Watermaker too costly

Muscles ache from jugs


GPS plotters

Redundant navigation

Could fly to the moon


Lee cloths on the bunks

Instruments emit red glow

Four on and four off


Gribs by SSB

North Atlantic pilot charts

Red sky at morning


Prep for breaking seas

Heave to with para-anchor

Dinty Moore beef stew


Worst case scenario

Liferaft and ditch bag ready

Remember EPIRB


Only a day sail

But ready for anywhere

Sunday afternoon


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