Have you ever looked into the eyes of a weathered old shrimper?
Have you ever touched his monstrous, callous hands?
Have you ever noticed his tired shoulders once broad.
His crab claw like powerful arms, tattooed and scarred.

Have you noticed that his sea worn face is unlike yours and mine?
Have you ever wondered why he continually ventures back out to sea?
Have you ever prayed that he returns from there safe and sound?
Have you ever been there on the mooring docks, to welcome him home?

Rudy H. Garcia 5/2009

On Board a Shrimp Boat

Have you ever been aboard a shrimping boat?
With the Captain and his mates,
Have you ever held a deep sea trawling net?
And wonder how the shrimp get in?
Or have you ever pulled a heavy sea soaked cabo rope?
That carves and measures the fathoms deep.

Have you ever paced a shrimp boat`s slippery deck?
Or stood by anchor`s prow,
Have you ever had an angry wave
Slap you mercilessly across the face?
Have you ever climbed the towering main-mast?
During bitter cold winters or tropic tempest storms.

Have you ever fallen over board, way far, too far from shore?
Never seen nor heard of again, never to be held again,
Never to be hugged again, never, never, more.
Have you ever, ever, been the one, the one with endless love?
The patient father / rosary beads praying mother … who lost a son at sea.

Have you ever been the loving wife, to kiss his lips no more?
Have you ever been the admiring child who lost a Dad at sea?
Have you ever known a Shrimping man who lost his life at sea?

Rudy H. Garcia 5/2009

Many Days Out At Sea

Have you ever been to long, too many days away at sea?
And missed your new born baby`s birth,
His very first gay filled mirth,
Or when he climbed his first tall tree?
Were you around to even see?
And hear him say, look dad… dad look at me!

Have you ever been too far out at sea?
Away from children`s glee,
To far to hear that blissful sound,
Unable to stroke their shinny crown,
Too far to comfort the weeping child,
And wipe away a pouting frown
Or tuck away your babes goodnight
Than morrow keep them within your constant sight.

Rudy H. Garcia

Have you ever toiled to long at sea

Have you ever spent too many days and nights of yesterday?
Trawling for shrimp, than washing riggings packed with oceans` bottom clay,
Mending nets, constantly coiling ropes, charting the course for the next sailing day,
30 – 40 – 50 – 60 – days, sailed out in March, docking back sometime in May.

Have you ever scrubbed and scrubbed and rubbed, than washed, shampooed your briny body?
From the embedded- penetrated, under your skin smell of the salty sea?
Of slimy netted shrimp gunk, of choking black bellowing exhaust diesel fuel fumes,
Or rusted iron from your hands, of slippery by-catch, staining your white rubber deck boots
Have you ever smelled a shrimper man who toiled to long at sea?

Have you ever been so long at sea?
To never hear your son`s, first a b c,
Your daughter`s first count of 1, 2, 3…
Not there to see them off for their first day of school
Or tell them both about the guiding golden rule
Or how the sea is composed of countless globules upon tiny globules

Have you ever stayed that long at sea?

Rudy H. Garcia 5/26/09

Author: Rudy H. Garcia

Rudy H. García, from Port Isabel, Texas, has a Master’s in Education from the University of Texas at Brownsville and earned a B.A. in psychology from Pan American University in 1976. He is a participant in the Narciso Martínez Cultural Arts Center Writers’ Forum, and is a founder of the Laguna Madre Writers Forum. Rudy has also been featured on the radio program “Themes and Variations.” His poems are published with “Poets of the East Village” in New York and he has been a featured reader for the El Paseo Arts Foundation and is published in numerous other magazines.


2 Responses to Do you know a Shrimper?

  1. Editor says:

    The finest Shrimper poem I’ve ever heard, and a top song of the sea. Congrats and felicidades Rudy

  2. Eugene "Gene" Novogrodsky says:

    Strong strong, but what is crab craw?

    Glad you’re writing sending.

    Come read in April at NMCACWF ….

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