Methinks the fisherman has caught himself a shark -
A fish his nets can't keep and boat cannot support.
Yet he he maintains the line. Hooked firmly to his bark,
The beast is tethered tightly and the line is taut.
What use has he for her? A stew, a steak, a dish
With spice and wonder or is she but testament
To skill and courage of his crew, meant to distinguish
Men from boys as women brim with wonderment?
A shark! The whispers gather on the deck like smoke,
A haze of fear and pride, they savour their reward
While their night's catch fights vainly 'gainst unyielding yoke -
The sun picks out staccato splashes overboard.
Beneath a full white sail, the plunderers of the sea
Debate their options: cut it loose or keep it snared?
Under their captain's caustic eye, they all agree:
The line cannot be hewed, it holds a catch too rare.
So they return to port, the wearied beast in tow,
Dragged by determined boat t'ward hungry waiting lips,
Ready to feast and praise and drink and sing 'bravo,'
A crowd collects to watch and greet the ship...
But wait awhile - the story isn't done just yet,
For all but one had yielded to the captain's wish.
One conscience compromised, one heart filled with regret
Had waited until backs were turned and loosed the fish.
And thus, she lives today, indebted to his name,
His tender mercy greater than his lust for fame.