Terra firma

I have not stepped onto the dock
From the sea-swept deck
Of an Atlantic trawler
After a frozen, fearful night
Hauling nets from the jealous depths
Watching each wave, wondering
If my name is written
On its foam-streaked slopes.

But sitting warm, dram in hand,
I gaze out over heaving seas unseen
I crossed to reach this friendly, well-loved shore
And weigh the journey’s labour in my limbs;
Wonder at my own good fortune
And feel again the salt sting on my face.


I drafted this in Brittany, over a well-earned drop of single malt, as a piece of free verse: when I wrote it up back home, it turned itself into this experimental kind-of-a-sonnet. Basic structure is per the Shakespearean original (14 lines, octet/volta/sestet) but I’ve dispensed with iambic pentameter and rhyme. Thoughts? N.