- The Winter Fishing Fleetby tfawcus
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Another Heroic Sonnet
The Winter Fishing Fleet by tfawcus
Poem of the Month contest entry

At anchor now, a jousting host of masts
slop-wallow as they slacken off their stays.
A watercolour sky, when sunlight casts
an aureole through mists to backlight bays
     where bar-tailed godwits stand on jointed sticks,
     in estuaries ablaze with winter's glow
     and dunlins spear small shrimps on mudflat slicks
     'mid shallows left by ebbing tidal flow,
but how this calm belies the banshee yell
of North Sea winds swept from the Russian steppe
when Herring Buss and Doggers ride the swell.
These winter fishing fleets that strain and schlep
     their laden nets of mack'rel, cod and skate
     have weathered fearsome storms with mighty waves
     when fishermen themselves are tossed as bait
     for kraken monsters, deep in briny graves.
At times the bravest hearts may skip a beat,
but there are those at home who need to eat.


Author Notes
This longer sonnet form dates back to 16th century England

Aureole: a circle of light or brightness surrounding something
Bar-tail godwits and dunlins: wading birds found on the shores of East Anglia during winter
Herring Buss and Doggers: types of fishing vessel that used to ply their trade in the North Sea
schlep: to drag or haul

Painting of a Brixham Dogger by William Adolphus Knell [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


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