Morning Watch

You see the varying hues
Of the sea and sky,
Mingle and blend
Like an alchemists potion,
Fruitlessly simmering
In this all-encompassing plasma.
You see the dazzling glitter
Of the multitudinous stars
Dotting the inky sky,
Like the scattered white horses
On the paler sea,
It’s darkness relieved
By the dull phosphorescence
Of the breaking crests.
You see the stars slip slowly
Into oblivion,
Into the lap of a fondling universe,
As the submerged sun
Smites the sky
With ever – increasing reddish arcs.
You see Vulcan with his
Fiery load appearing,
The bright mistiness of the horizon
Giving way to
A pale round shape,
Whose power increasingly
Begins to be felt;
You see it stab your eyes
With flashes of demoniac brilliance;
You see it spring the world to life;
Yes, the morning is a very eventful watch.
The deeper hues of the lustreless sky
Now fade against the lush sparkle
Of the restless sea;
You see your infinitesimal self
Merge with the infinite universe,
You rejoice in this oneness,
You feel at peace with yourself
And the world;
The morning is indeed a rewarding watch.

Note: This poem was written in April 1979 while serving as a Navigating Officer on board a Chukker-class destroyer PNS Jahangir. The morning watch( duty from 0400 to 0800) traditionally fell to the lot of the Navigating Officer.


  1. Mushtaq Ahmed June 26, 2012 at 8:10 AM

    Dear Payjee, It, the poem is the realistic depiction of the night breaking into day, but the OOW is not always the person who gets much time to enjoy it. It is the likes of the plummers etc who join the OOWs in the morning watch. I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed the scene. Your musings have brought nostalgic memories flooding back.
    Wish you all the best with your website. Hope you can land some ads to make it more feasible. Regards

    1. pervaiz June 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM

      Thanks! The general idea was to rekindle the memories of those lucky ones who had seen the entire sequence unfolding before their eyes and to spur the imagination of those that hadn’t. I’m glad it lived up to it’s billing for one person at least.

  2. Anjum July 31, 2012 at 3:43 PM

    Morning Watch!!!

    The high stars grow paler –
    Day comes to the sea;
    The sky’s rim unbroken,
    The ship running free, –

    White sea-birds that follow
    And call on her way;
    Bright flying fish gleaming
    In rainbows of spray, –

    Wide seas all around her,
    The wide skies above,
    And the long road before her
    That leads to my love!

  3. Anjum July 31, 2012 at 3:54 PM

    Morning watch of a Cadet!!

    Groggily I get up at quarter to four,
    Splashing cold water on my eyes galore.
    Rush quickly to bridge I go,
    For keeping watch to eight from four.
    Wheelhouse is eerily dark and quiet,
    Small lamps winking red light.
    Slowly mingling into the darkness around
    Allowed my sleeping bones to be awakened and bold.
    Hearing the winds gushing and
    howling at bridge wing,
    Realise the agony that the Siberian winds in winter bring.
    Even though wrapped in heavy woolen
    Biting winds make my poor nose redden.
    Ensure my eyes remain alert and wide
    To keep lookout with all senses of mine.
    Early must I spot the approaching ships’ light,
    And quickly report to the officer of the night.
    Then, I must find the compass error,
    By taking azimuth of stars up yonder.
    Then I need to search the stars for sight,
    Before they start to fade away in twilight.
    How I love to hear the ship hums in the night,
    Piching ‘n’ rolling but moving like a sprite!
    Watch the dark night retreat in a fright,
    Pitch dark ‘fore but now turns so bright.
    After the star sight is plotted and done,
    Work for bridge cleaning then begun.
    Bit by bit the sun glows brighter
    Day-workers now waking up from slumber.
    Oft I heard that for a seasoned sailor,
    Sunrise is but a boring mundane matter.
    Tho’ find watching rising sun so refreshing,
    Believe me, my morning watch is really very pleasing!!!

    1. pervaiz August 1, 2012 at 7:53 AM

      I’m glad it brought out the muse in you.


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