Invoking the muse…
Fishing all night with Homer, halogens
Aloft transform night into day, blocking
Stars and moon, world unto its own, net
Dragging, making slow headway through
Darkness, course made good, anticipating
Glimmer of fire-bright on distant horizon.
And the sea beasts frolicked beneath him,
On all sides out of the deeps, for well they
Knew their lord, and with gladness the sea
Stood asunder, and swiftly they sped, and
The axle of bronze was not wetted beneath,
And the bounding steeds bare him on to
The ships of the Achaians.*
Following USCG navigation rules, we burn
Green over white all-round masthead lights,
Indicating fishing, whether under-way or
At anchor, permitting right-of-way with
Other ships on near-coastal waters or
Whilst transiting deep-sea canyons.
And these set forth like the blast of violent
Winds, that rushes earthward beneath the
Thunder of Zeus, and with marvelous din
Doth mingle with the salt sea, and therein
Are many swelling waves of the loud roaring
Sea, arched over and white with foam.
Driving is my trade, plowing cresting seas,
Monitoring marine radios, checking radars,
Watchstanding for marine traffic. Usually
Nights are quiet, distant lights of container
Ships, heavy tugs pushing reluctant sand
Barges north on East Coast shipping lanes.
Not so loudly bellows the wave of the sea
Against the land, stirred up from the deep
By the harsh breath of the north wind, nor
So loud is the roar of burning fire in the
Glades of a mountain, when it springs to
Burn up the forest, nor calls the wind so
Loudly in the high leafy tresses of the trees.
Tonight weather is holding, north winds 15
Knots, four-foot waves in steady chop, boat
In rising rhythm, pulling another long set.
As nets fill, drag increases, weight straining
Steel cables, repetition of trawling, taking
Tonnes of fish from dark foreboding seas.
Nay, they stood firm, and embattled like a
Steep rock and a great, hard by the hoary
Sea, a rock that abides the swift paths of
The shrill winds, and the swelling waves
That roar against it. Even so the Danaans
Steadfastly abode the Trojans and fled not
*Alternating stanzas from “The Iliad of Homer Done in English” by
Andrew Land, M.A. Walter Leaf, Litt. D., and Ernest Myers, M.A.,
An Electronic Classics Series Publication, 2004-2014.