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A Storm's Toll

Updated on October 21, 2014

By: Wayne Brown

It’s a cold, watery grave where they all lie

Lost in the storm and destined to die

Vanished in moments off the face of the World

God bless the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald


An iron boat she was with a 26 ton payload

A crew of 29 manned the ship and what’s stowed

The captain had 40 seasons upon this water world

A fine crew and a ship, the Edmund Fitzgerald


Sailing from Wisconsin on a November afternoon

None among the crew could foresee their doom

An early winter storm is headed for their world

To chew up this crew and the Edmund Fitzgerald


Sixty knot howling winds shoved at her sides

Thirty-foot crested waves would rise and collide

Blowing snow and freezing rain on windy swirl

Onward pushed the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald


Rocking and rolling over waves with a toss and twist

She’s taking on water and to the port she will list

The storm is increasing and the waves start to curl

Striking fear in the hearts on the Edmund Fitzgerald


A brave Captain and crew were holding their own

Now without radar and navigating blindly along

Fifteen miles from the closest land in this world

No longer a word from the Edmund Fitzgerald


A great gust of wind sending a giant crashing wave

She breaks up and sinks, there’s nothing to save

Disappearing in seconds ‘neath the water’s curl

Lost to eternity aboard the Edmund Fitzgerald


Now she lays in silence on the bottom 530 feet down

Broken in half with the iron ore scattered all around

A cold and dark grave in a silent eternal world

The final rest for the crew of the Edmund Fitzgerald


Those who wait patiently at port for ships to come in

Never say goodbye to those never seen again

They mark time and pray over a dark water world

Missing their love ones of the Edmund Fitzgerald


Never rest ye fine mariners who man these iron boats

The lakes will swallow you and all that does not float

It can happen in seconds in a storm’s mighty swirl

And you too can join those on the Edmund Fitzgerald

©Copyright WBrown2010. All Rights Reserved.


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    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...I read quite a bit of Twain in my younger years. One of my favorite quotes by him is regarding dogs. He said, "When you get to Heaven, leave your dog outside. Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in. " Mr. Twain had a very keen power of observation and expressed it well in many memorable quotes. Thanks, Amy! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      I remembered you were a Mark Twain fan. I give my "day job" students a quote every week to reflect upon in their writing journals. This week “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter – it’s the difference between the lightning bug and lightening." Mark Twain

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 6 years ago from Texas

      @Truckstop Sally...I have tremendous admiration for the Captain and crew of this ship. I absolutely adore Gordon Lightfoot's master piece song on the subject. With those things in mind, I tackled this with the hope that I could do justice to this terrible loss of humanity. You words bring me joy! I was just watching a program on Mark Twain on the public television. Each time I watch it I realize what an awesomely large figure he was on the literary world but he never lost sight of who he was and what he believed. I think that is an awesome and humbling quality that we call could hope to achieve in our life even if we broach the realm of greatness at some point. Mark Twain left us a lot but more than anything he left us a treasure trove of how to be a human. Thanks much Amy! WB

    • Truckstop Sally profile image

      Truckstop Sally 6 years ago

      Oh my! Glad I didn't read this while my middle son was on Spring Break - on a private yacht . . . I truly, truly love your gift displayed in the last line in your stanzas. It is becoming a trademark . . . not repeated in its entirety, but the essence resonates throughout. Captivates your reader. What a gift!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @drbj....Excellent! You'll be on my crew each time we sail! Glad I could bring out that level of realism for you. Makes me feel better about the poem. Thanks for the good comments. WB

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      This was so realistic, Wayne, I felt the room shifting, the floor rising and falling, the waves beating against the hull (walls), and even heard the shriek of the wind.

      Hope it's not too late to take a Dramaine. :)

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @saddlerider1....Thank you Ken. I appreciate the good words. Merry Christmas to you and family as well. Please be safe for the holidays and stay warm up there! LOL! SilverGenes says it's cooooooooold! WB

    • saddlerider1 profile image

      saddlerider1 7 years ago

      Nicely done Wayne, the words are very fitting to the Edmund Fitzgerald. It was a very sad event when the ship sank so quickly in those freezing waters, the crew never had a chance.

      They went to their early murky graves and left a legacy of despair and families behind. Gordon Lightfoot is their muse and has honored them with his fine song of the Fitz. Merry Christmas to you and yours and may you have a safe, healthy and joyful Holiday. Peace my friend.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @breakfastpop...Aw shucks, Poppy! Tweren't nothin'! LOL! WB

      @sheila b. Glad that I could take you there...the thought frightens me a bit! WB

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 7 years ago

      You really hit the mark with this poem. I feel as though I was there.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 7 years ago

      Bravo, your poem is fantastic as are you!

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @SilentReed...Good idea SR...I will work on the link. Thanks for the good comments and idea. WB

      @MartieCoetser...I keep telling my wife that cruise ships are not the most secure places in the world today...much like airliners! Thanks, Martie! WB

      @Pamela99...I once went on a deep sea fishing trip on a 37' boat. The trip out took us over a jetty near the mouth of the Columbia River in the northwest. It was one rough ride and at times it felt like the boat was pointed almost straight up. Once we crossed, it was okay but that convinced me that I did not want to weather any storms at sea. Thanks for the good comments, Pamela. WB

      @Ken R. Abell...When I finished the Might Fitz I felt like there was more that I needed to do. A poem seemed a stretch in that I did not want to take on the talents of Lightfoot's way to win there! LOL! But I guess there was a poem there that needed to come out so there you have it! Glad you enjoyed it Ken and thanks for the good comments. WB

    • Ken R. Abell profile image

      Ken R. Abell 7 years ago from ON THE ROAD

      Nicely done retelling of the story. An enjoyable read. I love how easily your poetry flows with rhythm. Thanks.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      I enjoyed this poem very much about the Edmund Fitzgerald. Picturing being on a ship in a storm like that would really scare me and I think those men must have been braver than I.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 7 years ago from South Africa

      Facts beautiful presented in a poem. I enjoyed the rhythm... felt like being on that ship, experiencing the storm. Very well done, Wayne. I know for sure I will not like a cruise on the sea – I also don’t like a cruise in the air. Feet on the ground, that is what I like :))) I’ve stranded on your buttons :)

    • SilentReed profile image

      SilentReed 7 years ago from Philippines

      A fine testimonial to the courage of the seafarers. May I suggest linking this hub to your previous "The mighty Fitz" for others to better appreciate the sense experience of the poem.

    • Wayne Brown profile image

      Wayne Brown 7 years ago from Texas

      @Tom Whitworth...Thanks for the good words Tom. Good to see you back around. Hope everything worked out. WB

    • Tom Whitworth profile image

      Tom Whitworth 7 years ago from Moundsville, WV


      Your verse is a fitting tribute to the brave men of the Edmund Fitzgerald much like that of Gordon Lighfoot!!!!!!!!