Naked sea in a still place

This is the sea’s end, this cobbled, fishing village,
How the sunset’s breath draws on my hobbled walk.

Cod and halibut, once scooped from the deep brine
By weathered men, salt air nettled in calloused hands.

Why is it so quiet, why are fishing boats with blackened bows?
Their water-lines gasping for a breath.

A quietness dampers the street sounds,
It stretches for years, the shrunken, aging voices.

Aging wooden crutches, half my older size;
The creases in my face, etched by salted wind.

Storms and rain like anchored chains, pummeled the fishers,
Is it any wonder we all survived?

Is it any wonder we weren’t all swept into the darkened abyss?
Drowned among the mackerel, kettled schools

Who swim with their backs against us,
Silver and gray like the perts of our bodies.

The sea, that bred these,
Creeps away like a sea snake, slithering distress.

This tired, aging, salted body has no mercy for us,
Why should it, it is the hearse of forgotten souls.

O unforgiving sea
What dregs sigh, what brine in our throats.

And our families, worrying,
Drawn together like a long pencil line.

On the widows walks, hands writhing
Things, things.

Oft, I hobble to the breakwater, spotted with wooden debris,
I am a fisherman, not a land attendant.

I am no longer a smile,
Our children here for a fish, with empty hooks and cries.

And their hearts too small to bandage,
Do I fault the sea?

They watch the fishers vanishing
There is no help from their weeping mothers.

Now the sailcloth, gray and tattered, flickering
In the wind like a pitiful candle.

It is the tongue of a dying profession, remember, remember;
What is the name of colors on the sinking vessels?

Old wood like stumps in a harbor;
Their names disappearing, wordless and slow.

Naked sea in a still place, necessary fish once in search
Of a net; pallors of fishing hands no longer gather.

Copyright © 09/01/17 lance sheridan®

51 comments on “Naked sea in a still place

  1. johncoyote says:

    Reblogged this on johncoyote and commented:
    Please read the work of a talented writer.

  2. johncoyote says:

    A amazing poem. My favorite place is the sea.

  3. And their hearts too small to bandage,
    Do I fault the sea? How do you come up with that line? WOW

  4. Lona Gynt says:

    A storm can be deadly, but you can try to fight your way home. The slow press of circumstance, that is another matter. How do you fight that but to move, swallowed up into the heartlands. Achingly poignant.

  5. I live along the Chesapeake. Your images of fishermen and the sea are very apt.

  6. rabirius says:

    Fantastic and very well imagined.

  7. Congratulations! That is wonderful. SoundEagle sent a copy of his remarks and I am absolutely delighted for you!

  8. 3C Style says:

    Beautifully written.

  9. Duke Miller says:

    Hi LDan,

    One of the great pains of my life, and it never goes away, is the death of the oceans. We are living with stupidity on most fronts. At the end of MMcCarthy’s “The Road”, the man and boy finally come to the coast and find the saltwater murky with sludge and dead sea life scattered along the beach. Like those two, we have almost arrived and all of our grasping and unfairness is about to overtake us. I feel badly for our children, the ones who will inherent, at best, a virtual world and at worst, the hunger and disease that accompanies a dying world. And into the endless pit most of us shall fall, and it now, holy hell, seems inevitable. Such a cheery comment for an excellent poem, sorry: no way to remove the weight. Thanks. Duke

  10. almerighi says:

    Questa è la fine del mare, questo villaggio di pescatori lastricato,
    Come il respiro del tramonto attira il mio cammino zoppicante.

    Merluzzo e halibut, una volta scavati dalla profonda salamoia
    Da uomini intemperie, l’aria salata agitava in mani callose.

    Perché è così tranquillo, perché le barche da pesca con gli archi anneriti?
    Le loro linee d’acqua che boccheggiavano per un respiro.

    Una tranquillità attenua i rumori della strada,
    Si estende per anni, le voci rinsecchite e invecchiate.

    Stampelle di legno invecchiate, metà delle mie dimensioni più grandi;
    Le rughe sulla mia faccia, incise dal vento salato.

    Tempeste e pioggia come catene ancorate, colpivano i pescatori,
    C’è da meravigliarsi se siamo tutti sopravvissuti?

    C’è da meravigliarsi che non siamo stati tutti spazzati nell’abisso oscurato?
    Annegati tra gli sgombri, scuole abbattute

    Chi nuota con le spalle contro di noi,
    Argento e grigio come i perti dei nostri corpi.

    Il mare, che li ha allevati,
    Si allontana come un serpente di mare, angoscia strisciante.

    Questo corpo stanco, vecchio e salato non ha pietà per noi,
    Perché dovrebbe, è il carro funebre delle anime dimenticate.

    O mare spietato
    Che feccia sospira, che salamo in gola.

    E le nostre famiglie, preoccupanti,
    Disegnato insieme come una lunga matita.

    Sulle vedove cammina, le mani si contorcono
    Cose, cose

    Spesso, arranco sulla diga foranea, macchiata di detriti di legno,
    Sono un pescatore, non un guardiano di terra.

    Non sono più un sorriso
    I nostri bambini qui per un pesce, con ganci e grida vuoti.

    E i loro cuori troppo piccoli per fasciare,
    Ho sbagliato il mare?

    Guardano i pescatori scomparire
    Non c’è aiuto dalle loro madri piangenti.

    Ora il panno velato, grigio e sbrindellato, tremolante
    Nel vento come una candela pietosa.

    È la lingua di una professione morente, ricorda, ricorda;
    Qual è il nome dei colori sulle navi che affondano?

    Legno vecchio come ceppi in un porto;
    I loro nomi stanno scomparendo, senza parole e lentamente.

    Mare nudo in un luogo tranquillo, pesce necessario una volta in ricerca
    Di una rete; i pallori delle mani della pesca non si raccolgono più.

    wwooow! wonderful poem, greetings from Italy

  11. Like a painted poignant still-life that remembers how it used to be, yet shows us how it is now…Very nostalgic, sad, and unfortunately true.

  12. Well… You made it quite hard for me to go beyond the first line!
    “This is the sea’s end, this cobbled, fishing village”
    I read it and read it… dived into its beauty… admiring this pearl and… after a minute or so, I had to move on just to arrive to its pair: “Naked sea in a still place, necessary fish once in search
    Of a net; pallors of fishing hands no longer gather.” Beautiful!

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