4/22/2021

2021 S : Sea Shanty

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This was the most fun topic. Like the 2019 and 2020 "S" posts in the A to Z in April challenge, this topic also deals with the sea. A sea shanty is a sailors' work song dating from the days of sailing ships, when manipulating heavy sails by means of ropes, from positions on the deck constituted a large part of a sailor's work. The main purpose of the rhythmic tune was to help workers synchronize their tasks, such as pushing or pulling at the same time when hoisting sails. And before the comments fly, both shanty and chanty are acceptable spellings. I chose shanty to cover the "S."

When I was writing Maerva's tale, no particular words were written for the shanty in the following scene. However, it illustrates the use of a shanty on land.

The morning passed quickly and by the mid-day break, Wayward Bound’s cargo covered the huge tables outside the storage caves. After a quick cup of soup and a cold meatroll, Maerva slid into an empty chair next to Arcil. Farther down the line, a dozen old aunts and uncles sang a sea chanty. Their hands moved in rhythm to the tune as they gutted and prepared the fish for smoking and later shipment to the western provinces.

The inspiration for the shanties was the episode Bad Water of the television series Seaquest DSV. In that use, a grizzled chief got the crew singing to overcome their despair at their vessel’s damage. When I was writing Imprisoned in Stone, the music rang in my head until I wrote new words that enabled Maerva to use the magic inherent in the rhythm to break the spell cast upon her ship. Instead of using the rhythm of a shanty to keep the sailor's movements synchronized, she used it to focus the force of their will to save their ship.

“Ready?” she called.
The crew’s determined, “Sails away,” replaced some of the earlier exhaustion.
Taking a deep breath, Maerva released it and cast her spell. Her voice rang with the full force of her will. “Clear our decks, we’re a sailin’. Curse be gone, our sails a fillin’. Crew be well, that we’re orderin’. Command, it shall be.”
Arcil carried the chorus in a rich bass. “Away ho, darkness leavin’. Away ho, Dawn be rising’. Away ho, curse be leavin’. Command, it shall be.”
Off key or out of tune, one by one the rest of the ship’s complement joined in. Even though the words were different, the tune of an old sailor’s chanty made it easy for the crew to lend their voices—and determination.
She kept everyone singing until raggedness entered their voices. Her grasp tight on Gareth’s fingers, she gathered the will of the crew, added her and Gareth’s magic, and threw it in a final thrust against the squirming mess. It vanished, leaving behind only the spray-covered boards. Maerva turned to Gareth to tell him, but the ship’s bow dipped into a trough sending her into his arms.

 
Imprisoned in Stone - one click to estores 

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~ till next time, Helen

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