Down on the Labrador: Towing the Nickerson


I have towed my father’s schooner further
than any vessel has ever been pulled:

two thousand, one hundred and twenty-nine
kilometres, to where my spirit lies

exhausted, pining like an orphaned child
for a half-remembered home, far away.

And I have towed icebergs, shoals of them, from
where my grandfather sailed, in waters deep

as the waters of creation; and whales
more ponderous than any edifice

of man’s design or art. Towed here by my
inconsequential heart, encircling solace

like a familiar harbour, flinging deep
in wave-tossed life these anchors for my soul.


55 comments:

  1. That's wonderful! You're making me homesick. My grandfather on my father's side was a schooner fisherman..my father and his brother first sailed to the Labrador when they were 10 and 11 years old..I grew up with the stories. That etching is one of my favourites!

    Breeze

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  2. Very nice. I love "anchors for my soul." Your words are always woven so nicely.

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  3. Thank you! I imagined someone caught in the middle of the craziness of urban life, 'towing' his childhood memories of stories from his family about the Labrador to be with him, to be his 'anchors' of sanity.

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  4. Very beautifully written, once again. Vivid imagery takes one "into" the reading.

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  5. Samuel, this is beautiful. My family were fishermen and this sings like a song in my heart. What sweet memories this brings up.

    Thank you Samuel. I would like to see the etching you speak of, please. :)

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  6. A gorgeous lyric poem, Samuel. I love the ardent tone of the poem and the sense of circling back and back-- confluence. I'd like your take on my very brief reaction-- can't fairly call it a review-- clearly a mostly emotional in the moment response--of a Dean Young poem at Loquaciously Yours. ? I got a bit bashed by a fan of his awhile ago.

    xxxj

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  7. How very beautiful this is - you created worlds of imagery in my mind with your words alone. Your maritime imagery seems to recapture the bygone era so perfectly.

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  8. "Anchors for my soul" is such a beautiful thought. I love how you weave the sea imagery in with the nostalgia and wistfulness for a past time. It's just lovely.

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  9. So good, makes me want to hear the sea stories of my sailing ancestors again...very well done!

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  10. wow. this dredges deep. the far-towing, the weight of fathers and grandfathers... the offhandedness of the poet and his 'inconsequential heart' ... the shadow of things we can't quite remember, but that sail below us, just out of sight.

    excellent poem.

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  11. Thanks for the kind word!

    This poem was inspired by an etching by renowned artist David Blackwood, "Down on the Labrador: Towing the Nickerson".

    Short link - http://bit.ly/s4towing

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    Replies
    1. beautiful. it has a haunting quality that threads the poem.

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  12. The word 'elegant' is one I don't normally like to apply to poetry, but I always think of it when I read your more formal and structured work--it truly is without clutter, visual as fine art painting, and delicate in insinuating its message. This is a perfect example, understated and yet very full of subtle beauty and meaning.

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  13. This has all the charm of older poetry. As Hedgewitch says, it is very elegant and also eloquent. You can almost sense the wind in the sails, feel the cold and, if you listened hard enough would hear the song of the whale.
    Fabulous imagery and writing Samuel.

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  14. beautiful Samuel...there is weight and grace in each carefully chosen word...I hope one day to write with such depth.

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  15. Fabulous inference and imagery. This piece is honed to its essence and offers rich, ripe meaning; wasting nothing, lacking nothing.

    http://www.kimnelsonwrites.com/2012/05/21/take-action/

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  16. Beautiful. BEA.U.TI.FUL. I especially love:
    "and whales
    more ponderous than any edifice

    of man’s design or art."
    (I have a thing for whales.)

    Also, "inconsequential heart."

    Just a gorgeous piece.

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  17. The opening lines are specially beautiful to me

    Anchors of my soul...I like and resonates with me.

    Happy Victoria Day ~

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  18. I like how you have voiced this write... and some nice imagery, always big with me

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  19. This is beautiful writing. Until you explained, however, I thought it was based on an experience you had had. Lovely classic sound to it.

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  20. I think Karen put it nicely.

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  21. this is beautiful, i love the sense of being lowered down... and those two last lines, wonderful!

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  22. i really like the touches on family...the opening bit about towing the fathers ship made me think of the carrying on of expectation you know...i like though it looked at in a more positive light with the thoughts of family being the anchors...tight penning sir...

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  23. Wow, amazing. I like how you precisely define the distance to where your spirit lies.

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  24. Great poem. Full of family ties, and adventure. It really speaks to me.

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  25. Hello,

    A nice poem woven together sails with ease as I imagine a journey.

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  26. this speaks to me of someone going a long and emotional way to find their identity, their home within them..love that you make it kilometers...our heart can make long distances at times.. fine write sam

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  27. So so good. The dragging of ships and icebergs...dragging memories?...dragging baggage? Such significance in the weight passed down from grandfather to father to son. You write SO beautifully - this just had my heart from start to end

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  28. Towed here by my
    inconsequential heart, encircling solace

    like a familiar harbour, flinging deep
    in wave-tossed life these anchors for my soul.

    Just beautiful writing!

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  29. Smooth as a sand-washed pebble on the beach, and so rich that it needs re-reading in different moods.

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  30. You speak to my Atlantic soul with this piece Sam. I am carried on waves of history to set sail into a sea of fantastic poetry. I feel the wind, smell the salt...and my road tripping heels are itching to seek out such inspiration.

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  31. You keep showing me new possibilities for the sonnet form!

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  32. Sam, this moved me. The idea of having towed, borne, so many burdens to get back to one's origin... I spent years in LA doing things I should not have and had to tow my entire life (via Greyhound bus) to get back home... my spirit's home... you know? Nothing but love for you and this work. Amy
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2012/05/21/always-and-forever-ironweed-dammit/

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  33. So very archetypal, in the Jungian sense.
    You have captured a universal image here.

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  34. "Towed here by my
    inconsequential heart, encircling solace

    like a familiar harbour, flinging deep
    in wave-tossed life these anchors for my soul."

    Such beautiful words, feelings, captured here. This one speaks to my heart.

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  35. This is one of my favorites from that collection, it sings a haunting melody. Stunning.

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  36. I really feel the connection here between the present and past. It's a beautiful expression of how one can carries the past. I think what I appreciate most is how you've expressed those connections with respect when their weight can sometimes be heavy.

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  37. I'm so pleased that the poem can stand apart from the art, even as it draws its inspiration from the art.

    "Sonnets from the Labrador" is the book that this poem is drawn from, first published by Goss183 in its MiPoesias Poetry Chapbook Series.

    I'm happy to say that the book is being reissued in Amazon Kindle format, with a special edition cover and a new essay on art, inspiration, and poetry.

    Click here - "Sonnets from the Labrador" - for a small preview.

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  38. Memories of the past can anchor the soul, but not necessarily in a bad way - they help keep us grounded. I like how you respectfully express your attitude toward this.

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  39. Melancholy memories of ancestral past. This is lovely. I'm certain the book is wonderful.

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  40. Oh my, this really is very good!

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  41. Wow...I am impressed with your way with words. "Towed here by my inconsequential heart, encircling solace"...I am smitten!
    I so appreciate you visiting and commenting- I am awed with the many writers- hope I am not too out of my league- growing, stretching and reaching! ;)

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  42. I could almost feel the anchor tugging. I like the empathy, kindness and love you share for your and home. beautiful, my dear poet. blessings.

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  43. Beautiful mystical poem

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  44. This is beautiful! It reminded me of my own dad, who was in the Merchant Marines in WW II. I have pictures of him on the ship in my office, and I miss him a lot. I love the imagery of this poem, and the emotion of feeling an orphan. It was a great reminder that even if your parents die when you're an adult you are still an orphan. Peace, Linda

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  45. I read this out loud and it gained even more life than the words on the page. We are a culmination of self and family, of history, present and future. So beautifully written. Thank you.

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  46. 'exhausted, pining like an orphaned child
    for a half-remembered home, far away"

    Beautiful say, Sam! We always reflect back and remember the nostalgic strains of our boyhood home, the tumbles and joys of long before!

    Hank

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  47. lyrical and transcendent. the thing towed more an anchor than a burden... nice metaphor.

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  48. What a powerful, intense poem. Beautifully done, as always.

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  49. The towing and anchoring works together beautifully, Samuel.

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  50. Beautifully penned, wonderful metaphor.

    Anna :o]

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  51. This piece is a gem ... it stirs so many emotions and is wonderfully well written.

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  52. Sam, thank you so much for visiting my site and commenting. It brought me over to visit you, the ocean is my happiest place and you captured the beauty and the rhythm in these beautiful words!! Wow. Love those last lines:
    "Towed here by my inconsequential heart,
    encircling solace
    like a familiar harbour, flinging deep
    in wave-tossed life these anchors for my soul." Really lovely.

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Thanks so much for visiting my site, I'm grateful you've taken the time to read. If you liked this selection, you can download a sampler of (or buy!) my books at the following links...

- Sonata Vampirica
- Sonnets from the Labrador
- How More Beautiful You Are
- Tango Desolado
- War and Ablution

...And, if you can, please leave a rating at Amazon.com. It's easy, and it does help a lot.

...Thank you!