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The Vanishing Dutchman

For Four-hundred years spun a seafaring tale
of a doomed merchant ship falling prey to a gale.

According to legend, the phantom appears
with an oncoming storm, but it fades as it nears.

This tale among seamen is oft to unfold,
and historians say this is how it is told:

The ship had a vast load of cargo to haul,
but in rounding Good Hope, it ran into a squall.

With a sign from the heavens, the Captain was warned
if he battled the squall he was soon to be mourned.

“We will sail until Doomsday", the ship's Captain swore,
"And if that's what it takes, we will make it to shore."

By those dissident words of the Captain's decree,
the punishing storm made them ghosts of the sea.

And for centuries hence, came a number of tales
of a two-masted ghost ship without any sails.

What the lookouts above saw emerge in their scope
was a spectral hull off the Cape of Good Hope,

and soon recognized as it came into view
as the ghost of the Dutchman and skeleton crew.

The wailful ghost Captain cries out in remorse
as his merchantman ship remains doomed on its course.

To spot the ghost vessel foretells of one's fate,
for once it is seen, it is sadly too late!

~William A. Tatum



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The Vanishing Dutchman