A collection of Ocean related poems from the prolific mind of a friend, Daniel Powell.
Charging ahead, the churning freight-liner
was flashing purple neon like a nineteen-fifties diner
through pectoral fins splayed wide and stable,
taking flight with one swift thrust of its tail.
The great fish bolted skyward, shaking itself free
earning a brief education of man’s evil trickery—
The long days and nights spent in precise preparation;
The short, frantic battle that followed such long anticipation;
The savings spent on food, fuel and a plethora of bait;
The hiring of the boat, a sturdy captain and one sober mate—
All of this lost in no more than just a few seconds,
yet the thrill of fighting another big blue marlin beckons.
Daniel Scott Powell, 1-7-2014
I once caught a fish that looked up at me and said…
I once caught a fish that looked up at me and said,
“Hey, buddy, I’d rather be alive than be dead!
So if I wasn’t captured to cook and to eat,
there are a few rules to ensure my safe release”
It then took the hook gently from its lip,
held it out for me to see and very smartly quipped,
“That barb is mostly what’s the matter
if I wasn’t meant for hot oil and fluffy batter!
Please take pliers, and crimp that menacing thing!
They’re hard on the gills and they really, really, sting!”
It then slid slowly back down into the water
and gurgled, “And don’t just toss me, I’m no circus otter!
Kindly hold me upright, and cradle me in the current,
until I catch my breath because I am truly spent.
Then when I’m ready and I’m able, you will know.
When I’m steady and I’m stable, just let me go.”
The fish swam away then, feeling vindicated,
even after having been so easily fooled and baited.
Nowadays, I apply these rules as often as I can
so my grandchildren can enjoy being avid fishing fans,
and it’s only fair to grant clemency, once given some judicious thought,
to give a fish a chance, at least, once it’s been hooked and fought and caught!
Frigates dance wildly in flight in my mind,
swooping low, darting wide, daring to climb
into a sky sun-wrapped in warm blue respite
from thunderous rain the previous night.
The smooth swell calmly glistens of life held within
as it shines, reflecting a low-gliding pelican
wing-wafting scents of tropical sea air
as fresh and as real as if I were there.
My feet might find the warm sand welcoming,
If not just fantasy of cold-climate suff’ring
land-locked by demand and long-shoed unfree—
they often walk barefooted through my mind to the sea.
Daniel Scott Powell, 12-31-2013
“Oh no!” They shouted,
and truly meant it
as the rod doubled over
toward the fish that bent it.
The reel protested
in a high-pitched whine,
as the speeding torpedo
depleted insufficient line.
While the mate stared, rapt,
wide-eyed in wonder,
hoping the fish wouldn’t come up
but would rather stay under,
it seemed to be saying,
at fifty miles an hour,
going away ever faster,
and with even greater power:
“Hi there, nice folks! I was simply passing through.
I didn’t expect the snack, which was so very kind of you!
Pleased to make your acquaintance, I’m Mister Wahoo,
and I’ll be long, long, gone…. in just a second or two!”
Daniel Scott Powell, 1-17-2014
A Pelicans Lot
Amazingly, the pelicans dove in unison,
into shallow water, yet but a second apart,
all six of them seeking grunion
or anything, really, before it darts
away to find some other predator
for a baitfish’s’ life is given to the needs
of the basses, flatfish and albacore;
to everything in the ocean that feeds.
The pelicans plunge in and bob over
like ungainly bathtub playthings,
each spilling a gallon of sandy seawater,
barely hanging on to one or two skinny sardines.
But this, their life, has been chosen
by larger powers and greater schemes,
at least they’re not yet eaten or frozen;
A pelicans lot might’ve been worse, it seems.
Daniel Scott Powell, 1-5-2014