An Ode to Frostbiting

Published on November 23rd, 2021

Damian Lord, in his pursuit to provide a great addition to the strong literary canon of sailing poetry, offers this gift to humanity:


It’s Frostbiting time of year again,
And so I pull out my trusty pen
And start to fill in the entry form,
When slowly memories begin to dawn

Not of that second place I got
Nor of the time I overtook Scott,
But rather of waves fifteen feet tall,
(alright, they were four feet, but they didn’t feel small);

And of breaking ice off my Laser’s cover
While trying to remember why I bother
To spend my Sundays in the shivering cold
Starting two races (and both times being rolled
Off the line by someone I otherwise like,
But who, in those moments I could stab with a spike).

I think and think, and I’m about to give up
And put my pen in my pen-holding cup
And throw the form in the wastepaper bin
When suddenly a thought begins to seep in.

If I don’t enter I’ll spend the whole time
Checking the forecast (it’ll probably be fine)
And thinking “Force 2? I could’ve done well”
Or “Twenty knots – there’d be a nice swell”

And I’ll imagine the reaches where you can’t breathe for the spray
Or the gybe mark where my only hope is to pray
Or getting a start that is as I intended
(Yes, I’m heading to a place where reality’s suspended)

And I realize that I will have to take part,
If only to prove I was right from the start.

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