WORDS ARE NEVER ENOUGH
These are the fellows who smell of salt to the prairie,
Keep the back country informed of crumbling swell
That buckles the international course off Halifax
after a night of wind:
Angus Walters and Ben Pine, carrying on for Tommy
Himmelman and MartyWelch;
Heading up the tough men who get into the news,
Heading up the hard men of Lunenburg and Gloucester,
Keeping the cities bordered with grass and grain
Forever mindful that something wet and salt
Creeps and loafs and marches round the continent,
Careless of time, careless of change, obeying the moon.
Listen to little Angus, squinting at the Bluenose:
"The timber that'll beat her still stands in the woods."
Yes, these are the fellows who remind you again of the sea.
But one town, or two,
Are never enough to keep the salt in the blood.
I haven't seen Queensport Light over the loom of Ragged
Head in years,
And never a smell of rollers coming up the bay from Canso.
No one ever heard of Queensport outside of a bait report;
No one ever saw the name of Ragged Head anywhere.
Off that obscure beach, Will Bruce and George McMaster
Set their herring nets, and went farther out for mackerel.
The mackeral never ran, but in July
Fat herring tangled in wet twine were silver thick,
and the flat tow in the water as we hauled around
to head back for the huts;
In full daylight now,
After the grey dusk of a windless morning;
After the bay, gently stirring in half darkness,
Tipped down again to blush at the sun's rim.
Cleaning fish is a job you would balk at;
© Harry Bruce, All Rights Reserved