Winter storms on Gulf of Maine, repeated
Record blizzards dumped feet of blowing
Snow and threatened spring lobster season.
Traps cleaned and painted, lines and buoys
Were stored under backyard spruce trees,
Lobstermen waiting for thaw, pains of
Freezing spray, snow falling into March.
Such were dilemmas forced upon lobstering
Families, 2015 winter months, wait or push
The season and risk deep waters, Coast Guard
Cutters opening Penobscot River, work at
Boatyards had all but stopped, part-time jobs
Paid bills after Christmas had come and gone,
Tarp-covered boats under heaping snow.
Nothing was accomplished by waiting, fifty
Traps in deep water bays, 60 fathom lines,
Buoys painted and banded, diesel engine oil
Changed, electronics checked, no water seepage
Along forward decks or wheelhouse windows,
Families helping families, four-wheel pickup
Trucks, roads finally cleared, traps loaded on.
On cloudy April mornings, Downeast lobster-
Men drove to their favourite spots, dozens of
Boats on freezing waters, they listened on VHF
Radios, reminders to take care with cold-stiff
Lines, they pushed early season, wait and worry
Accomplished nothing as long as skipper and
Sternman came home.
Rose streaked dawn, they dropped traps near
Spruce-treed isles, anticipating warming sun
Bright on winter waves, frozen hands gripping
Hot coffee, boats cut through cresting swells,
Confidence in numbers, lobstermen offering
Whispered prayers, they worked sets through
Wind-chilled days to fading evening light.
For more on 2015 early winter months see Portland Press Herald article “Frigid February may put Maine’s lobster harvest on ice for a while.”
National Weather Service Record setting snow for Downeast Maine.