I find the shipping forecast strangely soothing - it's like a bedtime short story and every night is different.

Late at night and early dawn
Like clockwork - every day are heard
Those dulcet tones “set fair” to warn
With poetic, most prophetic words
What lies in wait just off our shores?
(Which seem so very far from home)
Where lashing rain and winds of force
See Salty Seadogs battered; blown
By storms... but these will clear; will pass
It has been stated; thus foretold
Like crystal ball or looking glass
To comfort sailors brave and bold
For all my life a fascination
And still today I find that I’m
Anxious with anticipation
To learn ‘conditions maritime’
The thought of Thames; of Dover; Wight
Of Lundy… I wax lyrical
To capture my long-held delight
In rhyme (or is that “Dogger”(el)?
Enraptured every time I hear
Those places of such mystery
The pictures in my head are clear
Tucked up in bed ... no wish to be
In storm force winds in German Bight
Or making headway out in Humber
Or windswept by a Viking night
Whilst they are there… I safely slumber
In Faeroes, Forties, Forth, Biscay
Perhaps in Shannon, Portland, Hebrides
Those bobbing boats will cut their way
More safely through unsettled seas
In North and South Utsire waves form
In Cromarty the seas are rough
Will Tyne and Fisher bear a storm?
In Trafalgar... is the going tough?
Will time spent sailing Humber mean
A night of fighting elements?
Will calmer Fitzroy set the scene
For ships to sail with elegance?
Will raging gales in Bailey thwart
The hardiest of Naval “Sole”
Or will they give it not a second thought?
Will South-East Iceland take its toll?
Or forewarned, forearmed, such wisdom used
May lessen any perils faced
Will knowledge gained by Shipping News
Make the Irish Sea a safer place?
Will Lundy, Fastnet, all the while
Take courage, strength and fortitude?
Will you face the rigours of Fair Isle?
What kind of test will Rockall prove?
Will Malin treat you kindly or
Be as devilish as it may be?
And Plymouth – being close to shore
Will that prove to be a sanctuary?
Four hundred words (just less) to say
That which all sailors need to hear
To guide; to set aside; allay
Their deepest worries; darkest fears
Each time I hear the Shipping Forecast
I offer up a silent prayer
I listen, transfixed, to the broadcast
And think “Stay Safe and Take Good Care;
May time and tide grant fairer days”
And....if I had my way, I would
Bless all who sail the ocean waves
With “South-west; “Three-to-Four”; and “Good”