Rhysling Nominated Poem

Rhysling Nominated Poem

Just sharing Racket River Press and MoonDream Press Poet Michael H. Hanson’s 2019 Rhysling Nominated Short Poem, “The Sea Horse Isles.”

It first appeared in “UNTIMELY FROST: Poetry Unthawed,” May 31, 2018 (Lycan Valley Press).


His father was a fisherman
known for trawling the Sea Horse isles,
a stretch of brine only his clan
had dared to challenge with their wiles.

They say it was a late Fall day
when most retired and stored their nets
that his father chose dark folly
and one more catch to pay his debts.

Without notice a sudden squall
stampeded just beyond the reach
and just before they made landfall
his father’s crew embraced the deep.

So vivid was this tragic tale
whispered on the periphery
of one sad child lonely and frail
that he never came near the sea.

He did not angle from the shore
or swim within a summer wave,
he never took tiller or oar
keeping far from his father’s grave.

Then one year he fathered a son
who grew tall, strong, and unafraid,
who chose to be a fisherman
and ply the gaff and gillnet trade.

Each dusk his son travels shoreward
he listens for the ocean’s neigh
imagining a phantom herd
splashing not far beyond the bay,
beyond the bay where terrors bray
and Neptune’s stallions stalk the spray.
“Neptune’s Horses” — painting by Walter Crane