Bateaus slip in; bateaus slip out.
All through the day, spry trawler’s shout:
Delicious fatty fish for sale!
Dispatch them down with frosty ale!
It’s been this way since time began.
Who can explain it? No one can.
The years roll over cobalt shoals
as we tramp forth on patched-up soles.
Bent backs are weary–shoulders ache.
How much can bleary bodies take?
The peddler in that corner there,
the one with tufts of salt soaked hair,
has worked here since I was a tot
in that exact same sandy spot.
He reeks of beer and junky rye.
His reedy throat is rarely dry.
The people in our seaside town
are well familiar with his frown
but nary a smile have we spied
on the old peddler’s timeworn hide.
He snarls at children in the lane
and waves his wobbly wooden cane
while spewing vulgar, bawdy words
which do offend both men and birds.
The biddies in this market say
his soul was not conceived that way.
There was a time when he was kind,
before his woes had warped his mind
and so I share this yarn with you
about the lad those fishwives knew.
“Plight of the Peevish Peddler” is a 2,360 word narrative poem, written in iambic tetrameter that I wrote in 2014. This is the beginning of the piece.