This week I embarked on a new project, writing a sequence of poems about the Brixham fishing industry, with the help of Torbay Culture and the Arts Council. Fishing is a major part of Brixham life and has been so for hundreds of years, and the town has the biggest fishing fleet in the UK. I thought this would be a great opportunity to get to know exactly what it is that makes people want to go out on the high seas and risk their lives week after week.
This is the first poem from what, hopefully, will become a sequence. Homecoming is inspired by watching the trawlers come back home after a long stint at sea.
A lonely dot on a wild wild sea,
A nestle of rigs and beams, a mess
Of rust with nets slung low,
Giant spools and ropes slack dripping brine.
The hairpin concrete bend of jutted brick breakwater,
Of faded dead slow lettering, a test of time,
Scratched and blotched this tub sides a-slap
With the remnants of a sea bed scoured,
Hauled loads from sonar technology blips. At night
Each bunk holds dreams or high sea murmurs
As plastic macks drip dry, this metal tin
Of deckhand muscle, winches, graft, sweat.
They gain their sea legs, these sons and daughters.
A throb of diesel purrs the shuddering deck
And slantwise rain in a spotlight’s glare,
Bow break waves and quayside forklifts, home, home.