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The muscular tide,
Gleaming with phosphorescence.
Each oar a varnished shin-bone.
Surgical steel
Questions the gut of the night.
The wet flap of fins;
The slime of an eel
Hauled up to gape at torchlight.
My hand
Fumbles with bait and fish scales.
A numb wind
Blows through the chasm beneath the stars.

Up anchor:
Link upon link, the chain
Folds on the floor,
Shattering the stars in the bilge water.
My father rows,
The granite moon
Rumbles from thunder clouds,
And the electric light
Beads on the aluminium.

Author's Note

In New Zealand English, the word "aluminium" is the standard word for the substance which is named as "aluminum" in American English. Like New Zealand English, standard British English also uses "aluminium."

This poem OUT FISHING was first published in Outrigger Volume Four Number Three, May 1980 (ed. Tim Pickford)(Auckland, New Zealand) (page 93). First appeared online when posted on the site by Hugh Cook: 2005 May 7 Saturday. Copyright © 1980, 2005 Hugh Cook. All rights reserved.

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