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The Captain to His Mate
Randal A. Burd, Jr.


These days I often pause to contemplate
How fortunate I am to share with you
Our struggles overcome which left our fate
Unbroken by the tempests rolling through.
God knows some days we've been denied a breeze;
However, we've survived the strongest gales
To right the ship and head for calmer seas,
Fair winds be damned as we unfurled the sails.
Until our voyage runs its natural course,
Land-sightings will be few and far between.
No hurricane nor like destructive force
Exists to make our journey less serene.
So long as you are with me on this trip,
Survival means I won't give up the ship.  

This poem first appeared in The Society of Classical Poets.
Used here with permission.


Randal Burd teaches adult education classes and works with at-risk youth at a residential treatment facility in rural Missouri. He has a Master's Degree in English Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Missouri and his work has been published in a variety of publications. A married father of two, Randal enjoys doing genealogy research when he is not indulging in his self-sabotaging compulsion to write poetry that rhymes.Learn more about him at





Post New Comment:
When one hasn't read a sonnet since high school, one forgets how much one missed them...Thank you for reminding me
Posted 02/28/2021 01:57 PM
Stephen Anderson:
a beautiful sonnet to behold, matey!
Posted 02/02/2021 10:07 AM
Good one, and fun to read!!!
Posted 02/01/2021 05:08 PM
There is a reason the sonnet has survived and flourished. It is a beautiful, perfect form. This fine poem is a good example. Write on!
Posted 02/01/2021 11:05 AM
Now this is the kid of poem that qualifies as POETRY!!! Thank you.
Posted 02/01/2021 10:55 AM
Ron Stewart:
Congratulations Randal. It takes great effort to create a beautiful rhyming poem such as "The Captain to his Mate", and in the traditional sonnet form. Well Done!!! The Bard would be proud.
Posted 02/01/2021 09:33 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I, too, have a compulsion to write poetry that rhymes. After all, think of all the poems one learns during a life time, even if it's just one stanza. How many people out there ever quote free verse. I'd say none. If you want you stuff to be remembered, rhyme it. I have a talented friend who has earned a good living as a poet. He contends that free verse is just an easy way out of putting in the work it takes to write good poetry that rhymes. Another friend titled his poetry book, "Rhyme Doesn't Pay." It's a joke, of course, but it does pay in the sense that you leave something of yourself behind that can be more easily memorized and remembered. I can't remember anything from Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was written in free verse, but I still remember many stanzas of "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner." Hair on ya, Randal. Keep rhyming.
Posted 02/01/2021 09:08 AM
What a lovely sonnet. Perfectly Mellville-ian and so moving.
Posted 02/01/2021 08:35 AM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I love the metaphor Randal used of a captain of a ship to describe aging with loved ones by your side. My favorite line is: So long as you are with me on this trip, Survival means I won't give up the ship
Posted 02/01/2021 07:08 AM

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