This part of the Vigilance story may sound a bit too good to be true, but actually, it is. You remember that I got talking to this old guy on board the 19th century Brixham trawler ? He told me that when he climbed the mainmast to check the boat out before he bought her, he found that the topmast had a lighning scar in it four feet long. ” I bought a new topmast,” he said.
Here’s the poem.
Vigilance BM76- Fishing
A sky of lead clamped down with greasy clouds,
A shifting sea, a slow uneasy swell,
A wind that hums mad tunes among the shrouds,
The tow-sail’s sullen tug, the seagull’s yell;
Stubborn, the winch clacks slowly, pawl by pawl.
The cable tightens, men crouch in the lee
And look for the promise of a bulging trawl.
The sky rips open like a rotten sail
And lightning leaps as fish do close to death.
Each rope and shroud sings out its idiot wail.
Black seas pound her, stifling each man’s breath.
She straggled home at dawn, a battered stray,
holds crammed with fish, her mainsail ripped away.
If you missed the first poem in this pair, then you can see it here: