Sea Dogs

After my December trip to the Galapagos islands, I started putting a few verses together, and am hoping to continue on the nature poetry front if I can bring myself to hit ‘publish’ without too much self-loathing.

One of my favourite experiences on this trip was waking up at dawn to photograph the return of fishing boats to the harbour. This inevitably attracted a frenzy of beaks and other like-minded photgraphers catching the early light and colourful activity. What caught my attention the most, was the endearing behaviour of a single sea lion, who seemed to have willingly adopted the role of pet dog to the fishermen (much to his benefit)…



When dawn was ripped by man’s rude honk, they scooped their buckets full.

2 arms multiplied into 10, snapping on the gloves, working the

Mammoth mouth of the nets over silver shoals

For a myriad of chalkboards to yell, ‘snatch of the day!’


Yet, at the wagging of a royal tail, a cut is made,

For a master who gestures to dine on a pampered plate,

While we, curious phantoms, peep on, resolute

To pluck the tender strings of man like the slobbering kings.


With boats pulling in, we shuffle up land, as far as the

Halt! Of the harbour steps, which

Stand Stiff against our featureless frame.

Wrenching blubber, we

Heave…over each monstrosity,

Gripping with flippers that furl at the heat,

To a coral of steady feet, and

A fish-eyed bucket, swirling and

Spilling over a slab of oily wonders.


First, we roll our weight into the wag, but use our heads,

Tipping and bobbing their eyes to dizzy their buoyancy

Then the silent ‘please’ (served with a dough-eyed dream)

And lastly, a pluck with the nose to slacken their grip.

Man, we’re your dog, and we’ll always wait for your ship.

2 thoughts on “Sea Dogs

Add yours

  1. The suggestions in the last verse are excellent. I’ve always found characteristics similar to puppy-dog eyes to be a cheeky manipulation. I like how ‘please’ is not written as a question, which suggests to me that the next action is an expected one and that the rolling and the wagging beforehand isn’t just excitement, but harmonious routine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cheers! It certainly appeared that way. I think we’ve always assumed that dogs and cats are the only other animals that know how to manipulate us, so it was interesting to see a wild animal that spends most of its time in a world still very alien to us, mastering our generosity with such familiarity.


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