Vessel Hell

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
*Balclutha ship poems; written with below freezing hands during a Night Watch on the Pier of San Francisco; the old ship creaked; Original Content: October, 2013...*

Submitted: March 20, 2016

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Submitted: March 20, 2016




Puritans of Massachusetts gained religious freedom, which they kept to themselves

They set up government that required all in colony to worship as one

Not all Puritans thought the same way, though


Young minister Roger William’s preached differently

William’s believed all should preach in their own way

Puritans put him on trial and ordered William’s be sent back to England


On a winter day, 1636, William’s fled to the south alone

He met Indians after several days of travel, who nursed him back to health until spring

William’s later joined by other settlers to start new colony


William’s bought land from Indians, and named the land Providence

Providence welcomed all people of different religions

Providence meant “Land of God”


Woman named Anne Hutchinson also fled and followed Williams’s path

Anne founded her own colony, Portsmouth

In 1647, Portsmouth joined Providence to become the colony of Rhode Island


Ideal of freedom didn’t extend to slavery

Sea merchants discovered usefulness of slave trade

Rhode Island became largest slave-trading center in the world


Puritans in adjacent colonies were disgusted by Rhode Island activities

Rhode Island represented the opposite of Puritan ideals

Puritan’s nickname for Rhode Island was “Rogue’s Island”




Sign of Hope:

“Up and across seas,

A sailor saw golden bright

He looked towards hope.”


The Sum of Experience:

“Frigid, pouring rain

In the midst of the Nightwatch

God ravaged the night.”



Blinding and chilly rain ravaged the night

Anxious was the air as we stepped onto the decks of Balclutha, like a series of snake-pits

Lipman’s leaders toiled through the hardships and learned the rough life of a sailor

Crews were worked like under-fed dogs in concentration camps

Lost in the mist came the ghost of a boat who drifted ever closer towards our vessel

Unpleasant conditions for sleeping and the biting cold did not provide a restful night

The letter from home that came was a talisman that gave me hope, courage, and perseverance

Horrible conditions did not deter our efforts to work through the screams of the night

Artic air assaulted our faces and body during the cruel torture known nonchalantly as Nightwatch

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