From the archives – Deck of a Beam Trawler, Gloucester, 1923 – Jean L. Kreiling

Deck of a Beam Trawler, Gloucester, 1923
—after Edward Hopper’s “Deck of a Beam Trawler, Gloucester.” 1923. Watercolor over graphite pencil on paper. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

He saw the art of work, despite the lack
of workers: the expectant energy
aboard the unmanned deck, the sinewy
preparedness of heavy ropes left slack,
the muscle of the mast. Where rusty black
abuts the dullish red of industry,
we know men labored, though we cannot see
their forms or faces or what they brought back.

They likely sailed before this sky turned blue,
before sunlit perspective clarified
the architecture of their work; they would
have felt their way through chores. The trawler’s crew—
unlike the painter—didn’t need a tide
of light to show them work they understood.

by Jean L. Kreiling

from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 19, October 2010

Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim

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