Poetry Contest

What is our annual poetry contest all about?

Yachting in New England in the winter can be bleak. Poetry with a dash of love is the panacea that we all need. For that reason, we've partnered with Points East Magazine to present the Birch Marine Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest. A highly qualified panel of ten judges, known as ‘TAYAP’ (The Academy of Yacht Anthropomorphizing Poetry), carefully score all entries. The winning poem is distributed to the entire Birch Marine community on Valentine’s Day and published in Points East Magazine.

Contest rules:

  • The poem must be written in the voice of a boat to her owner.
  • The poem must be submitted by January 31st of the contest year. (Submit to: poem@birchmarine.com)

  • A Valentine’s Lament

    We met at a show, you brought your dough, intending to make a selection.

    You fancied my style, aboard me you smiled,

    I heard when you whispered perfection.

    Twas love at first sight, then you spent the night, our marriage was destined to be.

    You christened my bow with champagne and a vow,

    though I might have preferred a chablis.

    In want of cosmetics, not all for aesthetics, you provided me all that attention.

    The varnish was brushed, so much that I blushed;

    twas more than an ounce of prevention.

    We made our debut, passed the review, oh how the others were jealous.

    On the docks people stared, at the yacht club they glared,

    we could see it, they didn’t have to tell us.

    We sailed together in all kinds of weather, guided by only the stars,

    the sun and the moon, in the late afternoon,

    I coped with those dreadful cigars.

    It wasn’t all bliss, but let’s reminisce on the times that we’ll always remember.

    The baking of bread and rebuilding the head

    and the wonderful sails in September.

    When you lost heart, and we grew apart, it was sad but it couldn’t be foretold.

    You lost the desire, attracted a buyer,

    like that; I was suddenly sold.

    You’ve chosen another, but what did you gain? Could it be I was starting to blister?

    More length overall, I heard you complain,

    and you fell for my lovely big sister.


    – Craig Parmelee Carter, Guilford, CT

    2016 Winner - is it too late now to say starboard?!

    Is It Too Late Now To Say Starboard?!

    You, my captain, are confident and none are wiser

    Snazzy too, with your checklist and visor

    I'm clean, nimble and lean

    Very few have a more narrow beam

    That fair breeze flew

    That white foam flew

    My furrow followed free

    What mast compression!

    What rudder load regression!

    My jib track is about to rip off my deck

    Please ease that sheet with the blue fleck

    I'm begging for bailing, battens & ballast

    Begging for luffing, lulls and less

    An abusive relationship, my girlfriends say

    But I like it rough, so tighten my stays

    30 seconds til the start

    Just like that time in St. Bart

    Time to wind me up and sail me smarter

    Why would there be a port tack starter

    -Burt Dow, Stonington, ME

    2015 Winner - Awaiting the spring

    Awaiting the spring

    Awaiting the coming spring.

    My bilge pump pumps and pumps

    In hopes of new stuffing in my stuffing box.

    My seacocks closed for the winter;

    My halyard banding impatiently in the wind.

    Waiting to flush the pink fluid from my lines;

    Waiting to shed this plastic cover;

    Waiting to come alive;

    Waiting to heal over and scream.

    But for now just waiting.

    Awaiting the spring -

    and the comfort of oily hands of the greasy sailor -

    and of course his guests.

    - Mark Nicholas, Los Angeles, CA

    2014 Winner - Nervous Wreck

    Nervous Wreck

    Do you every worry that

    One of those planes on approach to Logan

    Might brush the tip of my antenna?

    And lately the moon seems quite low

    And I think it could be a problem

    Finnegan keeps following me.

    Call them, damn it, I insist!

    Birch Marine is my Xanex and I need a fix!

    That crew makes me feel new

    Confidence, cleanliness & calm is what they bestow

    All systems working and boy do I glow

    Bring Birch back spring, summer, fall & winter

    Bring Birch back often and I will never splinter

    - Sally Blink, Carlsbad, CA

    2013 Winner - Dorade


    Is it the soft grain

    On the inboard plank

    Of my coach roof top box

    That you like?

    Or, perhaps, my solid bronze teardrop cowl

    Delicately dressed in green patina?

    Or is it my tight dovetail

    Seductively simmering in salt and sun?

    Or is it my sure stance

    Alongside mast and crew?

    Or my steady breath behind your left ear

    As you turn Melville's pages by oil lamp

    While together we tug against achor

    And quiver on the cusp of the turn of the tide?

    Varnish me.

    - Sam Albright, Woods Hole, MA

    2012 Winner - One Way Scamp

    One Way Scamp

    A scamp by design and disposition

    I head playfully out into Shell Lake

    My sail, full-bellied with the wind

    I list to starboard, water droplets on your face

    And yellow life jacket – cinched firmly I head playfully for the horizon

    The dock a speck on the distant shore

    The late afternoon wind dies

    My sail hangs limply in the golden light

    Alone on the lake, the scamp and her captain

    Waiting for the tow back home

    I bask in these moments and seek them out

    I am a one way scamp

    - A. M. A., Brookline, MA

    2011 Winner - Haiku for February

    Haiku for February 14

    Stretched lines yearning

    My valentine red sail burns

    For your bold command

    - Bobby Lizzard, Brookline, MA

    2010 Winner - Oh captain, my captain, I forgive you

    Oh captain, my captain, I forgive you

    For the bump on Brewster Spit

    For the month when we never left the slip

    For that eventful departure from the fuel dock

    For your neglect for my failed seacock

    The varnish that never left the can

    The mis-Q with my halyards

    Your bungled electrical repair

    Why didn't you call Birch?

    I forgive you for that bicycle

    for your pal's running shoes

    For failing to scrub my waterline

    For sailing the Swan from E-9

    For trying to mate my anchor

    With the BBQ on the S/Y Spanker

    I forgive you because I love you

    But please do remind your dear daughter

    That fuel tanks are for fuel, not water!

    - Sam Albright, Cambridge, MA

    2009 Winner - Remember


    O’Captain, my captain please melt the snow

    My languid limp lines lament the long length of Winter

    Do you remember

    Gazing into my compass with trusting eyes

    Listening to my whisper on WX03 tell of clearing skies?

    A keel bolt never forgets

    Do you remember

    Weighing anchor at O’dark hundred in Brewster’s lee

    With coffee for you and sea for me?

    A keel bolt never forgets

    Do you remember

    My helm in your hand with waves so steep

    Skirting the deceptive dangers of the deep?

    A keel bolt never forgets

    Do you remember Harding’s Ledge?

    A keel bolt never forgets

    - Sam Albright, Cambridge, MA

    2008 Winner - An immodest girl

    An immodest girl

    I know that I'm an immodest girl,

    With a bone in my teeth, with sails all unfurled.

    Especially in warmer climes and times,

    Fairer than fair, that phrase comes to mind.

    But here in winter (rhymes with discontent),

    Snowflakes and tinsel are my dandruff and lint.

    I need a good bath, remove all the plastic.

    Life on the hard, not romantic, just spastic.

    Who can get lovey at this time of year,

    Except indoor types, landlubbers we fear?

    So give me the candy, the card & the flowers,

    But know that real pleasures derive from SUN power.

    The holiday date we sailors await

    Comes in late May, not Valentine's Day.

    - Matt Chauvin, Hallandale, FL

    2007 Winner - O' Captain, my captain..

    O' captain, my captain..

    Roses are Red, Violets are Blue

    This is a valentine from your boat to you

    Doest thou love me, as I doth love Thou?

    From my stern pushpit, to the tip of my bow

    If thou doth love me, as much as it seems

    Please schedule my maintenance, with Birch Marine

    From washing and waxing, all done by hand

    To installations and oil changes, they’re the best in the land

    Shipshape in Bristol fashion, I love to be

    Each time we set sail, on New England's seas

    Let the Birch Marine team, treat me with care

    And wherever we venture, I’ll get you there.

    Lots of love from your faithful vessel

    - Greg Flederman, Hull, MA