Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Fisherman (in English this time)

I've been working on a poem with an eye to a lesson on how I transform ideas in English to poems in Old Norse-Icelandic. On the way there, I wrote a poem in English, something I seldom do because, well, "Dammit, I'm a skald, Jim, not a poet!" However, I think this one turned out pretty well. So I'm swerving from my usual path and publishing a poem in English here. It's called "The Fisherman" and it's about much much more than its title promises. It's for Cy, Aunt Ellen, and a myriad of others I've never met.


On morning's light  you'd go to let
the fish come jump into your net
and every one you could recall.
No matter be they large or small
You'd fish and each became a grain
to think upon when morn brought rain
to darken skies. You'd calmly set
your bait, your hooks, and then your net.

Your bait, your hooks, and then your net
in high noon's warmth you'd always set
to bring home more. And then compare
with those you caught from everywhere
and some you'd keep, still more you'd free
to go back to the loving sea -
For now the sea your net fills full
with fish, to think upon and mull.

With fish to think upon and mull
until they overflow the hull
of ship. And yet by night your seine
unravels and by day your mein
no longer pulls a net to give
you fish, but rather pulls a sieve.
And thus into the night you sail
but fish no more, your nets have failed.


I hope you enjoyed it. You can post comments below.