Poetry from Daniel Powell


A collection of Ocean related poems from the prolific mind of a friend, Daniel Powell.


Big Blue

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!                            

Ocean missed…

 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