Cod

Cod

By Cheryl Savageau b. 1950 Cheryl Savageau
It is the fish that bring them first.
Cod in such numbers as to seem endless.
Cod to fill the nets and bellies of hungry
Europeans with the tender white flesh.
Cod, it seems to them, without end.

They fill the ships,
salting the fish
down in barrels,
til the hull is full,
and head back home. This wet
cod-fishing goes on for
years, far out in the Banks,
with only an occasional stop on land.

We dry our fish in the sun
cure it in smoke-houses
and sure enough, the
foreigners hear
about it.

Soon they need
a land base
to dry the cod
which weighs less
than when wet
tastes better, too

it is these dreams
of cod that
first bring
the French
to land

dreams
of cod
the gold
of the sea
that will
fill their bellies
and their
pockets

Cheryl Savageau, “Cod” from Mother/Land. Copyright © 2006 by Cheryl Savageau. Reprinted by permission of Salt Publishing.

Source: Mother/Land (Salt Publishing, 2006)

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Poet Cheryl Savageau b. 1950

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Subjects Activities, Jobs & Working, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Animals

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Cheryl  Savageau

Biography

Of Abenaki and French Canadian heritage, Cheryl Savageau was born in central Massachusetts. She graduated from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, and studied writing at the People’s Poets and Writers Workshop in Worcester. She is the author of the poetry collections Home Country (1992), Dirt Road Home: Poems (1995) nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and Mother/Land (2006).
 
Savageau’s poetry retells Abenaki stories, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Activities, Jobs & Working, Nature, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Animals

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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