Diamond City, NC Occupations

The Mayflower Whale

Gretchen Guthrie Guthrie

I see a whaling crew in readiness
And a lookout watching the sea,
Loud and clear comes “THAR SHE BLOWS”
Echoing through the trees.

Over the hills the message speeds
Through the woods on Shackleford,
And all of the villagers say a prayer
“For this great blessing, thank you, Lord!”

James Lewis, Sam Windsor, Reuben and Seef Willis
They’re captains and whalers - they know what to do.
Elzie and Bill and W. C. Guthrie
Billy Willis, Sam Lewis - I see them, too.

Excited, the crews run for their boats
And all in their places sit,
As one captain shouts, “Row hard, my boys,
Don’t even take time to spit!”

The oars move forth, the bars move back
The boat plows through the seas,
An hour passes and back muscles tighten
But still the men row in Harmony.

Two hours ... three hours, should blades ache
Leg tendons strain and biceps bulge out,
“Pull on those oars, sons, take care for God’s sake,
There’s the cow! Look at the height of her spout!”
“Closer, boys, steady now.” Josephus stands
Shuts one of his eyes ... harpoon in his hand,
Takes careful aim and a whizzing sound
Streaks over the ocean ... a true mark is found.

A struggle begins between men and a fish
A struggle, most likely, not soon to abate,
Hours later blood spouts to tell who has won
The Mayflower is awash in the Hook of the Cape.

From "Our Shared Past" prepared for the Diamond City & Ca'e Bankers Reunion, August 1999 as a collection of writings, research and recollections to tell the story of the Banks communities.
Copyright 1995, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum
All rights reserved.

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