A Fisherman's Tale - Poem by Zack Holland
Yes, my parents were fishermen’s fishermen
And their parents were fishermen too
And they’d learned over centuries of fishing
That eleven’s too much for a crew.
For they’d fished off the coast of North Cornwall
Since they’d both come of fishermen’s age
But they lived in a broken down cottage
With a garden of brambles and sage.
“Yes, eleven’s too much for a crew”, they would say,
“There’s a reason we work with just ten”.
But I dreamt of a company much bigger
With a myriad of hard-working men.
For we lived in a broken down cottage
With four sea-salted walls of green grime
And I wanted our lives to be better
So I waited ‘til it was my time:
On the day that I turned one and twenty
And my parents had grown to be old
I decided to turn our small company
Into mountains of rubies and gold! -
And I sent out a message to Truro
And to Falmouth and Looe and Penzance:
DO YOU LIVE IN A BROKEN DOWN COTTAGE?
ARE YOU WILLING TO HAZARD A CHANCE?
Within days I’d received thirty phone calls
So I set out to build a fine crew
But I wouldn’t just stick to eleven-
I had mountains of gold to pursue!
I assembled a company of twenty
They were like-minded men of my age
And they’d all come from broken down cottages
With rough gardens of brambles and sage.
O, together we worked: men united!
And our aim was to make up for loss-
As a team we set out for the oceans
And I worked as the company boss.
Within weeks we had caught such a booty
That we had to move out from the shore,
All our eyes were alight as we laboured-
And all this we were only a score!
Now, I knew that no time could be wasted-
For my parents had done that too long
There were fish that were yet to be yielded
So I built up my crew fifty strong!
And we fished and we fished 'til the sundown
Over oceans we ruled with a whip
‘Til the boats weren’t enough for the business
So I purchased a fierce-looking ship
And now no one could stop me from soaring
And my business went up through the roof
I had need of more men for my mission
So I sent out a call to Redruth-
And more men and more boys came to labour
With the goal of achieving the most
In a year we had been so successful
That we’d fished all the fish on the coast!
That was decades ago- now I’m forty
And I’ve fished more than men would believe;
I’ve a squadron of ships at my ready:
I have nothing that’s left to achieve.
I have houses in Paris and London,
But they’re none of them nearly as bright
As the broken down cottage I lived in
As a child, for my parents were right:
For I miss the old days when our family
Closely knit would sail out to the blue
And we’d catch just enough to support us
With no more than just ten in our crew.
We would fish with a fisherman’s mind-set
Not a mind set of money-fueled rage:
And we loved all in life that was simple
And we cooked using garden-grown sage.
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