“ Survival ” ~ no time for sorrow ~


The day of the hunt

Be the squeal of a seal,

Who’ll reach for a hand

Of a starved dying man,

With no choice to save

Or let live with a wave,

That another day gives

Either creature to live,

With no time for sorrow

Nor sealer to borrow,

Holds he must stride

To hunt many hides

Or shan’t morrow survive,

Nor halt downward slide

Of living the narrows,

For yesterday’s bread

And a roof overhead,

Man has no guarantee

From fated seal barrow,

Nor survival ahead

Tho finds his way back,

Before all freezes over

And frost has him dead!

                                                                ode to perished sealers,

                                                                of Newfoundland’s 1914



6 thoughts on ““ Survival ” ~ no time for sorrow ~

  1. A prayer for more, “let live with a wave”. This is a deeply profound poem that shows a lot of pain and beckoning for compassion. Timely, poignant, vital, and brilliant. Your recent poems are reaching into societies dark shadows and looking for the cracks to let in the light. Bravo!

    • Thank you Paulette. Listening to a lengthy interview with the author of a recent book about the 1914 tragedy where 139 men perished in the icy Atlantic under horrific conditions. Like eye lids frozen shut, and the men’s hands frozen numb so as not being able to work their eyes open to see, is quite could but inspire an emotional reaction that produced this poem, and then some. As a young man and sailor in the Canadian Navy too many years ago, I sailed the Atlantic Ocean in the freezing winter, and know and can imagine what these men must have suffered and endured frozen and dying. Ergo this my humble ode these men and all who are blatantly made to suffer so!

      Jean-Jacques Fournier

      • It is a profound statement you made in remembering them, and the horrible end, in your poem, and comment. Tragedy, of a horrific nature, certainly came through in your poem which did show your emotional reaction to the interview you listened to. I once had a similar gut wrenching reaction to listening to a WW II concentration camp survivor. It’s so important to remember the lost ones, from tragic demises at the hands of others and nature. It is in this remembering we cherish life all the more. Thank you for your compassionate words and heart.

      • Thank you Paulette for your kind and inspiring words. You are a very special person who has the ability of getting inside the words to add that extra level of perspective to poetic expression. Indeed my extraordinary good fortune to have such a friend. I am forever grateful this privilege. Jean-Jacques

  2. Thank you for this profound tribute and for reminding us that without compassion we have nothing – all is lost. We must persevere and demand a high level of accountability; we cannot turn a blind eye to the suffering of others. Thank you Jean-Jacques for being a poet-advocate. Your voice gives strength to the task at hand.

    • Thank you again Rebecca… for your eloquent expression of appreciation of my latest poem, as well as the encouraging comment for my latest poemt. I must admit that the likes of Jennifer Higgins’ book and interview makes it an easier task to express ones emotions on the plight of these poor hungry men of yore. Jean-Jacques

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