HAULING OF THE SEINE a Poem
HAULING OF THE SEINE
THE sea is like a mirror—scarce a crest
Of the white froth-foam gleams across its breast;
And like an infant's bosom, fast asleep,
Scarce sinks, scarce swells the smooth breast of the deep,—
So smooth that scarce the shell-embroider'd sand
Is ruffled by the waves that kiss the strand;
So smooth, that scarce the green sea-weed that grows
In shallow cove its ribbons may unclose;
So smooth that scarce the salty kelps may shake
Their beaded garlands where no ripples break.
Now good the time to lift the close-mesh'd seine,
Outspread along the sandy sea-beach plain,
Men coil it careful in the surf-boat's stern,
Cork-line and lead-line all complete in turn.
Now haste, bold fishers, for a gleaming line
Of flashing fins doth sweep across the brine;
And shows where bright the treasures of the deep,
Swimming and skimming, in gay frolics leap.
Now run your shapely shallops to the edge
Where meet the shore-waves and the yellow sedge;
Spring to your seats, ply hard the bending oar
Till the flat keel recedeth from the shore,
While the skill'd helmsman with long sweep doth steer
Straight on the fish school, with exulting cheer.
Now the twin boats approach the unwary school;
Pull well together, men, be cautious, cool;
Let each boat take its seine-end, to surround
With circling sweep the school, in hush profound;
Then, when the drifting corks united meet,
And myriad flashing tails the surface beat,
Draw well together, till collected shine
In one live mass the treasures of the brine;
Then with your hand-seines fill each ample boat
Till with the sumptuous spoil it scarce may float;
Then to the shore with manful oar-strokes toil
Till all the sandy beach is spread with spoil,
Till all the level beach with glistening prey
Twinkles and flashes in the blaze of day,
Till well the fisher's hard and manly trade
With opulent reward is rich repaid.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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