Friday, October 4, 2013

Monologue of a commercial fisherman

If you work a body of water and a body of woman
you can take fish out of one and children out of the other
for the two kinds of survival. The fishing is good,
both kinds are adequate in pleasures and yield,
but the hard work and the miseries are killing;
it is a good life if life is good. If not, not.
You are out in the world and in the world,
having it both ways: it is sportive and prevenient living
combined, although you have to think about the weathers
and the hard work and the miseries are what I said.
It runs on like water, quickly, under the boat,
then slowly like the sand dunes under the house.
You survive by yourself by the one fish for a while
and then by the other afterward when you run out.
You run out a hooky life baited with good times,
and whether the catch is caught or not is a question
for those who go fishing for men or among them for things.
Alan Dugan, “Monologue of a Commercial Fisherman” from Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry, New York, 2000. 


  1. Thanks to Maree Dawes for the link to this poem.

  2. I will never forget sitting in the galley of an East German fishing vessel converted into a museum, watching a video of an average (20 hour) day of the men who crewed it. MY GOD - no money would entice into a life-style like that.

  3. That is beautiful, really and truly so.

  4. See? So beautiful I said it twice. *argh*

  5. Thanks Cathy, it makes my page look much better!

  6. Evocative poem and the first photo is stunning.