February 22, 2011

A History Of Navigation, In Verse


In the beginning was the hallowed cross staff.
And while your friends might giggle and laugh
Who saw you staring into the sun,
You at least knew your latitude when done.

An improvement was the nifty back staff.
And while your friends might still giggle and laugh,
(Why are friends so often that way?)
From the sun you could now turn away.

Let us not forgot the clumsy quadrant,
As unwieldy as a fire hydrant.
Its users would stumble and trip
On the deck of a rolling ship.

Equally painful was the neat astrolabe
For while latitude it neatly gabe,
If you also required your longitude,
The astrolabe wasn't singing your song, dude.

And even the touted sextant,
The most complex device yet extant,
For measuring the height of the sun,
Left you equally lost, when done.

For these devices, simple or devious,
All had a failing mischievious.
If you cared to return to the dock,
Then you also required a clock.

The Englishman, John Harrison,
Sought the longitude prize, but never won.
Still, they gave him an outrageous sum
For a clock with no pendulum.

So the scourge of old sailing fables,
The sextant, the clock, and the tables,
Navigation, remained a morass.
A colossal pain in the brass.

Until finally, God made GPS
Which did away with that awful old mess.
At long last man would be free
To venture safe upon the sea.

Today, the old navigators' art
Requires neither math nor chart.
We may voyage from Sundays to Saturdays,
If we remember to bring the batturays.



  1. batturays

    About 34 results (0.34 seconds)

    Did you mean: batteries

  2. Yes, thego, but notice that O Dock is the first (and second) source sighted, I mean sited, uh no, I mean cited for batturays.

    So, The Google has declared O Dock the ultimate expert on batturays.

    We report, you decide.

  3. He's a genius. But I've said this all before.

  4. Sorry to have tortured you with this tortured verse, but some of you have inspired (or provoked) various bits herein.

    Consider the abuse that just one free hat might have spared my readers.

    At the very least, this post has inspired at least one new blog, so perhaps some good may yet come of it.

  5. Excellent.

    As my mother might have said, be careful with that cross staff - you can put someone's eye out!

  6. Ah righto, Pandanobium.

    It's a little known fact that the great Achilles' heel of the cross staff was that the navigatrix had to rest the butt of the instrument precisely upon the cheek in the same spot each time to ensure accuracy.

    So, poking became a very real and imminent danger to the navigatrix.