Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.
--Daniel Patrick Moynihan

October 10, 2018

The Names of Lobster Boats

By David K. Shipler

       The men and women who go out on the water in Maine before dawn to haul lobster traps come up with some inspired names for their boats. Many call them after their children or spouses. Others have painted on their hulls the fragments of life that speak to them: the anxious hope for a good catch, the sassy wit that brushes off danger, the reverence for divine force, the flinty swagger of independence, the poetry of the sea. In sailing the coast of Maine the past few months, I collected names, and put them here into something of the rhythm of the winds and tides. (There really was an up arrow beside the final name, seen near Jordan Island in Blue Hill Bay.)

                                                Kyle Thomas, Buggin’ Out,
                                                Seanior Moment, Get It Done,
                                                Wildest Dreams, Final Round,
                                                Karma, Twilight, Sea Chimes

                                                Autumn Dawn Faith,
                                                Family Tradition,
                                                Illusion, The Gambler,
Never Enough, Learning Curve

                                                Miss Sara, Centerfold,
                                                Somp’n Fishey, Rough Rider III,
                                                No Problem, Long Faces,
                                                Next Week, Dream Weaver 

Nancy and Jamie,
Two of a Kind,
Tidewalker, Orca,
Thin Line, Sea Flea

Sarah Oakley, Lazy Days,
Kill Switch, Dreadnought, Finest Kind,
Steppin’ Up, Money Move$,
Force of Habit, Heritage

Sandra David, Lobstah Tales,
Hey Cap, Time Out, Breezy Dawn,
Mary Joseph, Daily Bread,
Armageddon, Praise the Lord II

Criss Tina II, Still Smokin’,
Defiance, Enginuity,
Insanity, Venom,
Black Thundah II

Lindsay and Lacey,
Fair Maiden, Freedom,                         
                                               ↑This End Up


  1. An expansion on Dylan Thomas's melodious listing of Welsh fishing boats in "Under Milk Wood": "the Arethusa, the Curlew and the Skylark, Zanzibar, Rhiannon, the Rover, the Cormorant, and the
    Star of Wales"

  2. Nice. Fun. Picturesque. (I only wish you had separated the names with a semi-colon so I could have known (for sure - unambiguously) when one name ended and the next one began.) Sounds like you've had a delightful autumn on the water! Will make a lovely memory... Thanks for sharing it with us.

  3. For your guidance, I've never seen a boat name that contained a comma, so all commas are between, not within, the names.

  4. I love what you have done here! When my boys were in middle school, they learned about and wrote poems that could be read from top to bottom and then bottom to top. The last line seems to invite just that.

  5. Oh,cool. I wish I could claim to have planned that; it was unintended!