Open ocean his home, sea-skimming
Brown gull took delight in winter gales,
Darting over rolling whitecaps, foam-
Streaked waves, free-flying, soaring
Upwards in gusting winds, gliding
Beyond reach of crashing sea spray.
Effortlessly circling our fishing trawler,
Our companion followed us out to sea,
Waves heaving, winds howling, he stayed
With us, close enough to see his knowing
Eyes, his feather patterns, he swept past
Our starboard wheelhouse windows.
As if he scouted our well-being or wryly
Searched for other gulls, with dipped
Wings he swooped away, brown blur lost
On slate-grey combers, strength of avian
Instincts, sharp eyes, beating wings and
Heart, feather-light and muscle-strong.
Performing our tasks in hard pitching
Seas, we wondered about our gale bird.
Was he chasing another trawler, feeding
On their offal, or waiting for us at the
Dock? As wind-streaked clouds scudded
Overhead, we steadily filled fish-holds.
By day’s end, our gull returned to our
Trawler, circling overhead, landing on
The bow, ruffled wings tired. He knew
That we, too, were gale birds, sea sailing,
Fish taking, steel hull plowing cresting
Waves, trawlermen winging home.