[lit-ideas] Sunday Twofer

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 4 Nov 2012 12:29:03 -0800

Two boats we rescued, drifting helpless in dangerous water.  One we towed to 
harbor, the other by skillful maneuver we freed from rope-wrapped prop.  Guy 
guys thanked us with but one gruff word.  Fools out with one motor, no life 
jackets in sight, little freeboard, they didn't quite come the raw prawn, but 
they got close. 

I did not know how to write,
and so I tried, and tried.
By and by 
like dogs upon a scent 
Fresh out of the woods,
I you halloowed,
like a Cornish clifftop pilchard watcher,
making hue.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

From the traditional Australian expression: "Don't come the raw prawn!" or 
"Don't come the raw prawn with me!", meaning: "Don't try to put one over me!" 
or "Don't treat me like a fool!". 

As an etymological footnote, the Old French huer survived in Cornwall right 
down to the early twentieth century. At that time an important part of local 
livelihoods in coastal communities came from the seasonal catch of fish called 
pilchards, which migrated past the coast in great shoals in early autumn. To be 
sure of not missing their arrival, fishermen posted lookouts on the cliffs. 
They were called huers, since they commonly alerted the waiting fishermen by 
shouting through speaking trumpets.

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