Early morning gale on the cold Atlantic Ocean.
Early morning gale on cold Atlantic Ocean.

Through howling winds, freezing
Spray, I steered our trawler to
Deep fishing grounds. Ice formed
In the rigging, crusted on chaffing
Gear, I was committed to making
Morning tows, raw winter sunrise,
Seas glittering, rolling and bright. 

As the trawl deployed, heavy cables
Tightened, booms lowered, trawl
Doors cut slate seawater. Making
Headway at a few knots, icy waves
Rushed through deck scuppers,
Foam washed over boots and
Bobbins on rusted steel decks.

Slow to maneuver, we made
Arduous pitching hauls, seabirds
Overhead, circled us on uplifting
Seas. Unable to escape hard-sea
Duty, trawlermen endured winter
Hardships, making a living on
White-crested Atlantic waves.

With skies clear-cold, warm breath
Steaming, sea-life stirs in my soul.
When on the ocean, I dream of
Home. After docked, I long for
Briny crests, contradictions that
Perplex, when returning to loving
Arms, comforts of a warming bed.

At the end of each set, the winch
Does hard work. With gloved hands,
We watched for frayed wires and
Stand well clear. A tonne of fish
Spilled flip-flopping onto the deck,
Pushed into the hold, a thousand
Heartbeats flash-frozen whole. 

We made sets throughout the tiring
Day, grabbing quick meals, hot
Gulps of bone-thawing coffee. We
Lowered the last net and thanked
God for being alive, relying on the
Skipper’s heartening words, “One
More good tow, and we all go home.”

 

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