NaPoWriMo 4.4: Dogship


A delightful ‘Dogship’ from this website – I don’t know what they do (because I can’t read it), but presumably it relates to dog care, and that’s a Good Thing.

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…)


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. 



NaPoWriMo 29: Excerpts from a Report on the New Poem Aquarium

An empty aquarium – shall we fill it with poems? Shall we?

So yes, it being the end of NaPoWriMo, I’m going quite deranged and using increasing amounts (and oddities) of Found or – in this instance what I’m calling ‘Poached Poetry’. (Poached in the sense of hunted and stolen, or I guess it could be poached in the egg-sense.)

This has reached new and ridiculous heights (or depths) today: I have just watched a news report about a new Chinese visitor attraction and written bits of it out as a poem, giving the attraction a new title.

To retain the (very tiny amount of) enigma, I will only post the link to the original news report at a later time…

What do you think the report was actually about?

Don’t throw a wobbly trying to figure it out.


A Poached Poem

or, Excerpts from a Report on the New Poem Aquarium


…Psychedelic, otherworldly, primordial:

visitors can now get up-close and personal

with the creatures, albeit from a safe

distance. Even the more dangerous species

are a sight to behold…


…Some have quite long tentacles and,

as a result, they look quite graceful

when swimming…


…More than 3000 are on show,

dozens of species

in eleven tanks

some weigh more than

twenty tonnes…


…The museum says it is not easy

to keep the deep-sea dwellers

in captivity. They’re poor swimmers –

a special circulatory system

is required, just to keep them