Rebecca Lee Shipwreck

Updated on May 8, 2019
Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis loves to write poetry. Most of her poetry is of a spiritual or inspirational nature. She finds it can reach out to help others.

Stormy day at sea

Image of a 1700s ship.
Image of a 1700s ship. | Source

The sea Captain

Twas a cold stormy day far out at sea
and huge waves were slapping the rocky shore,
when we sat and watched, my darling and me,
an old sea captain tell of local lore.

His eyes filled with tears as he told of more
than fifty sailors on Rebecca Lee,
along with their captain sadly went down,
when the ship lost to a storm and all drowned.

Twas on a day like this, the captain said,
when the Rebecca Lee was torn apart,
and sank fast to her grave with all her dead,
many women for years mourned their loved ones.

Three-hundred years ago today, he said,
the church bell rang for every broken heart,
for all those who were lost that day at sea
the bell tolled as folks counted, fifty-three.

Then each family who lost a loved one
with sorrow made a wreath of fresh roses,
and each generation sees the same done,
for the respect and love never closes.

Families go down and the eldest son
is given the rose wreath and he throws it
from the mourning rock far out to the sea,
where it will float above Rebecca Lee.

The folks all gather, later that same night,
at town hall to pray for their dead at sea,
for a potluck and drink wine, red and white,
and tell tales passed down in memory.

Memorial wreaths, roses red and white,
in memory of all my crew and me.
Then we heard mournful sounds of sea gull cries,
as the captain vanished before our eyes.


Author's Notes

This poem, Rebecca Lee Shipwreck, is a work of fiction inspired by my fascination on the history of shipwrecks. Over several years of writing I have conducted
heavy research on shipwrecks to accurately portray events, locations, real people, and dates in historical fiction or poetry. In some poetry and short stories
I have researched manner of speech and terms used for ship parts and operations.

My interest in shipwrecks began many years ago when I had a dream of being on a ship with my husband, the captain, and our three children. In the dream the
ship was wrecked in a massive storm and went down just outside the English Channel in the 1700s.

In the 18th century thousands of ships were lost in battles, storms, or wrecks from navigation errors. In late 1703 the Great Storm was recorded as a destructive extratropical cyclone. It hit central and southern England hard with damage on land and sea. During the Great Storm of 1703, in November and December, there were seventeen ships lost, thirteen of them at the Goodwin Sands, which is a 10-mile long sandbank at the southern end of the North Sea lying 6 miles off the Deal coast in Kent, England. There was a great loss of life on ships in this storm.

Thank you for reading my article. I hope you enjoyed the poem.


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    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      10 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi Gypsy. Thank you so much. I am happy you enjoyed this poem. I had fun writing it.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      10 months ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      This was a sad and amazing poetic tale of a shipwreck. I love the ending and how it went for the brave captain.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      11 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Thank you so much, Ruby.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      11 months ago from Southern Illinois

      I did enjoy reading your informative poem. A lot of history noted.

    • Phyllis Doyle profile imageAUTHOR

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      11 months ago from High desert of Nevada.

      Hi John. Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for reading and commenting. I have to edit and add my 'author's note' which I forgot to do.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 

      11 months ago from Queensland Australia

      Nice poem Phyllis, sad though. Thanks for sharing.


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