Trawlers by David Cooke

Gale-battered survivors
of distant water, they trawled
a featureless nowhere

to make ends meet.
Enduring iron cold
and routine extremes

of oceanic storm,
they hove past torpedoes,
mines, gunboats.

Sweeping channels
to keep them clear
for North Atlantic convoys,

they netted scrap
for years, ending up as pawns
in Cold War, Cod War,

and scuppering deals.
Holding their own
against the worst

that arctic skies
and deep swells muster,
they came to grief

on a creeping tide –
twelve miles, fifty
and then two hundred…

While here’s one
that’s found its anchorage
beyond breakers’ yards,

where unindentured
boys with rods
fish for tiddlers

and the Sainsbury’s trolley,
sunk for a lark, may still one day
be salvaged.

David Cooke won a Gregory Award in 1977 and has been widely published in the UK, Ireland and beyond. His most recent collection, Work Horses, was published in 2012 by Ward Wood Publishing. His next collection, A Murmuration, will be published by Two Rivers Press in 2015.

David Cooke won a Gregory Award in 1977 and has been widely published in the UK, Ireland and beyond. His most recent collection, Work Horses, was published in 2012 by Ward Wood Publishing. His next collection, A Murmuration, will be published by Two Rivers Press in 2015.

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