When you fling yourself into the midst of something much bigger than you, such as nature, it helps to believe in a higher power. No amount of comforting knowledge or thorough analysis of the statistics at hand is going to make you feel all that much better about a very possible imminent death at the hands of a rogue lightning strike or cascading wall of rocks and loose earth hurtling towards you.
Sailors of old (and for all I know, in modern times too. Even though we’re supposed to be so very enlightened nowadays. Pretty much everyone has realised that they’re manatees rather than mermaids) were renowned for being overly superstitious. It’s why the women weren’t allowed on board or what have you (whether or not this was actually the case I’m not completely certain but popular culture has well and truly latched onto the idea and refuses to let go).
Maritime folk were famed for refusing to embark on voyages on certain days or kill albatrosses (you know, in spite of their delicious flesh. I totally didn’t have to resort to Wikipedia for inspiration on those). Like total ninnies. They also had many a sea shanty or good luck song. The song of big lord of plain sailing weather has recently been unearthed from those olden days of way back when they didn’t even have iPods.
The hope was that in the middle of a squall or raging seas offering up this tune to Poseidon or whatever deity happened to be paying attention (hence the pointedly ambiguous title. Anyone faintly large with dominion over the waves could psyche themselves up to believing that this plea is addressed to them alone). It’s jaunty and only mildly desperate for aid to come in any form. Perhaps a helpful troupe of all those birds they decided not to kill who could fly them to safety. Apart from the captain who couldn’t possibly leave the vessel. Oh how I wish I could do the tune justice.
Song choices courtesy of: Billy Connolly, Joni Mitchell, Ramin Djawadi and Frank Turner