The Trawlermen

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churinga
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The Trawlermen

Post by churinga » Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:51 pm

The Trawlermen
Everybody’s smiling now,
we’re going home
.


Fishing In The Graveyard,
they shoot the net again.
Storms come out of nowhere here
and hence the deadly name.
The net is caught then freed but wrecked.
The winch screams and on the decks
despair is in the deckhands’ eyes
until another boat comes by
and with borrowed net, it’s one last try
as they slip and trip and swear.

The seagulls know the catch is good;
can smell the net come up for air.
Tin coloured prawns pour past the men,
well pleased now, exhausted then
and setting safe for harbour lights,
the co-op auction late at night,
the trawlermen now jig and grin.
Took a chance and had a win.
Last edited by churinga on Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Perry
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by Perry » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:24 pm

The activity on the forum seems to have died off a bit, which is perhaps why no one has commented on this. I myself am busy with other things.

I think this is a perfectly good poem, written in clear language. It seems to be loosely rhymed. The language is choppy in places.

It seems to be a short snapshot of the lives of fishermen. The story is poignant enough to be worth telling, but it seems to lack any twists that would make it more interesting.

As to how you could improve it, it would work better, I think, if you rewrote it in meter with a regular rhyme scheme. I don't know enough about your poetry to know if you ever write in form. If you don't, then I think that, somehow, you need to add more tension to the poem to make it a more satisfying read, but I'm not sure how to do that without meter. Meter can elevate an ordinary story to something that sounds special. You might consider also adding a little humor. In a serious poem, humor takes the form of wry observations.

The really satisfying poems have what I call "hooks" every couple lines -- something in the sonics or meaning that appeals to the mind or musical instinct. This poem needs more hooks.
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

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Mirrorball
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by Mirrorball » Thu Oct 04, 2018 8:40 pm

Hi Ross, this is quite an easy one to follow compared to some of your previous offerings. The scene you set is vivid and reminds me of a UK documentary series:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006t12t

It's one of the most deadly ways to make a living. I think the Graveyard is in the North Sea.
churinga wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:51 pm
The Trawlermen
Everybody’s smiling now,
we’re going home
.


Fishing In The Graveyard, they shoot the net again.
Storms come out of nowhere here
and hence the deadly name.
The net is caught then freed but wrecked.
The winch screams and on the decks
despair is in the deckhands’ eyes
until another boat comes by
and with borrowed net, it’s one last try
as they slip and trip and swear.

The seagulls know the catch is good; I'm expecting a rhyme or internal rhyme on this line
can smell the net come up for air.
Tin coloured prawns pour past the men, Can you get tinned prawns? Tin is a dull metal colour. I can see why you've chosen it but it doesn't work for me
well pleased now, exhausted then Not sure about exhausted then, I know you mean exhausted before but I expect the next line to say what happened next so 'and' trips me
and setting safe for harbour lights,
the co-op auction late at night,
the trawlermen now jig and grin.
Took a chance and had a win.
I like the ending and it moves along with good rhythm. Enjoyed.

churinga
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by churinga » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:10 pm

HI Perry and Mirroball

Thanks for your comments.

Mirroball,
prawns when alive are tin coloured. They change slightly when dead, becoming less transluscent and the edges to their shells become tinged with other colours.
The poem is based on a TV series about fishing in the North Sea. I condensed one episode into a poem.

Perry,
i think the poem has plenty of 'hooks', I would say it is 'action packed'.
I have written hundreds of formal poems. I was a regular on Eratosphere for 3 years.
I began pubishing my work 48 years ago when I was 23.

kind regards to you both

Ross
Last edited by churinga on Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

oggiesnr
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by oggiesnr » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:27 pm

I like it as a poem, I have a couple of factual quibbles with it but they don't detract from the sense of the poem.

Steve

Perry
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by Perry » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:33 pm

I guess we have different ideas of what constitutes a hook. To me, the language sounds somewhat amorphous, as if this were an early draft and you hadn't refined the language yet.
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

churinga
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by churinga » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:01 pm

Hi Steve

I would like to know what your factual quibbles are. The devil is in the detail as far as I am concerned.

cheers

Ross

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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by Perry » Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:15 pm

I think I was pretty clear, and I don't want to get into a back-and-forth -- I don't have the time for that. I could rewrite some lines to show you, but that takes time.

You are being defensive. You don't realize that my critique was fairly positive. I said what I said to be helpful.
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

churinga
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by churinga » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:17 am

Perry, my reply was to Steve.

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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by Perry » Fri Oct 05, 2018 1:44 am

Sorry. I just jumped over the salutation.
If I forget to come back to critique your revised poem, don't hesitate to send me a note.

ray miller
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by ray miller » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:57 am

I think it starts off well, I like the first 4 lines. It could do with more detail and drama, maybe, somewhere between "it's one last try" and "the catch is good". It all seems too pat, somehow, and that goes especially for the final line.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

churinga
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by churinga » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:33 pm

Hi Ray

The poem is an accurate summary of one episode of the BBC TV series 'Trawlermen'. I agree it is a bit corny and as you say too 'pat' but that's what happened. I wanted to post a happy poem, for a change.

cheers

Ross

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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by Macavity » Fri Oct 05, 2018 6:34 pm

I'm with you on the positive poem Ross. Poets do tend to wallow. Applause for the intent. The strength of the poem is in S1. Perhaps you could make the payoff more succinct (and therefore more digestible?)

Just a thought

mac

churinga wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 10:51 pm
The Trawlermen
Everybody’s smiling now,
we’re going home
.


Fishing In The Graveyard,
they shoot the net again.
Storms come out of nowhere here
and hence the deadly name.
The net is caught then freed but wrecked.
The winch screams and on the decks
despair is in the deckhands’ eyes
until another boat comes by
and with borrowed net, it’s one last try
as they slip and trip and swear.
The seagulls know the catch is good;
can smell the net come up for air.
Crew well pleased now, exhausted,
but setting safe for harbour lights.


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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by oggiesnr » Fri Oct 05, 2018 8:41 pm

Hi Ross,

I'm from Hull, I've found the episode of Trawlermen that I think you've based this on. Peterhead is very different from Hull, different traditions and fishing areas. I'll watch the program in the next few days and give you my feedback then.

My big problem is that a Hull trawlerman would not refer to an area as "The Graveyard" and if he did his missus wouldn't let him go on a boat that was fishing it. Hull lost around 6,000 men on the trawlers (again they tended to be bigger than Peterhead) so superstition runs deep.

I've talked to a number of trawler skippers and crew over the years (I've lived here over forty years) and they always talk about winches "groaning", the sign of a good catch. Squealing/screaming meant there was something wrong and the owner had probably skimped on maintenance.

Steve

churinga
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by churinga » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:54 pm

Hi Mac and Steve

Mac
The ending is a bit corny and Ray was spot on to say ot was a bit 'pat' The men actually started singng as well as jigging but i couldn't work that into the poem. i don't like the grin/win ending either. i should have posted something more recent but i did hope it would appeal to this UK forum.


Steve
It was definitely called 'The Graveyard' and it was a desperate move by the captian because they had caught nothing and were running out of time. The winch 'screamed' under the tension as they tried to free the net. From memory I think there was a real danger the winch would break under the strain.

thank you both for your comments

kind regards

Ross
Last edited by churinga on Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by HonourStedman » Thu Oct 11, 2018 11:38 am

I do feel that this poem reads like a "second-hand" experience, where the emotional and truly gritty side has somehow been left out or not truly felt by the poet. I don't wish to be unfair about this, but being long-time resident of a fishing town, I can't help wishing the poem more reflected the physical rawness of fishing at sea and the episode you are describing.

churinga
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Re: The Trawlermen

Post by churinga » Thu Oct 11, 2018 7:43 pm

Hi Honour Stedman

This is an ekphrastic poem, a poem based on a work of art ( an episode of 'The Trawlermen' series.) It is both a homage to the trawlermen and also to the people who made the series. There are details, but it is a short poem and only so much can be fitted in. I wanted to tell the story as it appeared in the episode.

cheers

Ross

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