Poems of the Week

C’est la Guerre (de la Mer)

by Michael Calvert

“British and French fishermen have clashed in the Channel, over alleged “looting” of the scallop fishing grounds there by British boats. … The French fishing industry is bound by an agreement not to fish for scallops between May and October, to conserve fish stocks.” — BBC

In trawler and in shallop we’ve pursued the precious scallop,
Chief ingredient of our Coquille St. Jacques;
But if you make your mission messin’ with our humble fishin’,
You limey bastards better watch your backs!

We shun those who are selfish when it comes to nettin’ shellfish,
When we’re limited to fishing by the book;
Those Brits who hate this ban’ll simply sail across the Channel,
But we won’t float there helplessly and look.

We’re pissed off—with good reason—for you ruthlessly can seize on
Technicalities that let you grab our stocks,
We’ll just see how well you get on, and how much you get your net on,
When we’re ramming you and pelting you with rocks!

We’ll gladly make a scene if it will guard our French cuisine;
We’ve got the courage and we’ve got the ships.
It’s your manners we deplore; we expected nothing more
From the nation that invented fish and chips.