(1) Write an "across the sea" poem, and
(2) Write a "clerihew".
A "clerihew" is a light verse of four lines with an AABB rhyme scheme. The first line is the name of a famous person, and the other lines describe something about him/her. Meter and syllable count are not important; some clerihews even have run-on lines for comic effect. So I wrote some "across the sea" clerihews:
had us all in thrall
with his journey in a leaky
boat called the Kon-Tiki.
Captain John Smith
made landfall with
some doubts: "This will daunt us..."
till he met Pocahontas.
Mr. Charles Lindbergh
was no August Strindberg -
wrote no plays, but flew solo,
so low he could play water polo.
And here's a more serious one, based just on the Poetic Asides prompt:
Many of us have ancestors
who came across the ocean
in a rickety wood boat
or a rusty steamer,
some of us of our own volition,
some in chains against their will.
It was risky, downright deadly
at times, with all the storms
and disease. So I shouldn't complain
that I will be over water
for the next six or seven hours.
I know about odds and statistics -
"You're safer than you are in a car."
But I also know if we fell in
from forty thousand feet,
it would make no difference
if it was water or concrete,
and even if we did survive
there would be no one around
for many miles to pluck us out.
So I pull down the window shade,
stick in my ear buds and watch
some movie I wanted to see
three months ago, maybe doze
for a little while, but not before
thinking of those immigrants
putting their lives on the line
to get to the promised land,
or the others who had no idea
what they would be subjected to
once the manacles came off,
while all I will probably encounter
tonight is a little turbulence.