Morning dawned bitter cold, another winter
Fishing trip on brutal North Atlantic. As we
Steamed offshore, beyond 20 nautical miles,
Waves foaming, dark, white-capped, heaving,
Wind blowing, freezing spray, low clouds on
Marine weather forecast grim, we were in
Thick of it, committed trawlermen, enduring
Leaden waves, breaking over rusted steel
Decks, washing over boots, cables straining,
Trawl doors cutting deep brine, by God’s
Mercy, we were fishing again.
Day of cold pains, pushing southeast towards
Brighter clouds, maneuvering for following
Seas off the port stern quarter. With first sets,
As we hauled in fish-bulging net, ice on chafing
Gear, 22 degrees and falling, breath steaming,
Feet pounding steel for feeling.
Plotting towards deep-sea canyons, conditions
Worsened, winds picked up, tempests wailing in
Rigging, true gale blowing, flags flying, spray
On bow freezing, crashing on the wheelhouse,
Green over white lights burning, whispered
Prayers to God, we were fishing again.
As net dragged, we took time for warming
Cups of coffee, to defrost our hands. Even
With neoprene gloves, cold set in, slowly,
Deliberately, it owned the day, as did foam-
Streaked waves. We slowly cut back towards
West, net gradually filling.
By afternoon we took wind and weather
Head-on, bow into heaving crests, freezing
Brine, crashing spray, often washed down,
Wipers smearing saltwater, rising, falling,
Pushing, plunging, holding on, by God’s
Love, we were fishing again.
As night set in, overhead halogens burning,
Temperature fell to 18 degrees, ice layers
Accumulating on rigging and steel, washed
With freezing seawater. Work slow and
Deliberate, we hooked to railing, secure
In a good boat, a trusted, salty crew.
For next week our days were thus: wind, ice
Waves, fish, freezing spray, days into nights,
Tired backs, cold numbing, turns watchstanding,
Keeping radars clear, pulling in tonnes of fish,
Halogens glaring out stars and moon, by God’s
Grace, we were fishing again.