I’m largely eschewing prompts this year and thinking back to things I wanted to write, but didn’t get around to…
Today, a rather brazen take on Masefield’s very rhythmic, rhymy, formal and ever-popular ‘Sea Fever’ – this is a poem based on a trip a few months ago. As it deals with a sea-related experience, I thought I’d try out this famous seafaring form.
(A note on ‘dogship’: clearly as in the image and website above, it can appear to be about ocean-going vessels, but it really means “the condition or qualities of a dog”. Both of which are useful in this poem…)
Dogship Because he is not human, he is kept with the cars below decks, A mechanical snake on the Channel, riding each crash, each apex. Just twice we’re allowed to visit the alarm-filled bowel of this whale - The stern open to the horizon: the bristling grey skin of a seal. Because he is not human, he is alone with the grumbling sea While our limbs seek purchase in the gift shop, for plastic solidity. And we smile at how we flounder, how the corridors are slinking; We chortle in pale-eyed disbelief, with the portholes blinking. Because they are not human, the dogs stay down in the hull With the white sky, the viridian sea and the dark decree of the gulls And they don’t even know to ask if they are on the passenger list, They can’t even count the hours, as the chains and the nations drift.