Welcome to The Deck Hand a new journal of maritime art.

A harbour for sea themed creative work of all kinds including; pelagic poetry, pirate prose, maritime music, aquatic art and a bountiful miscellany of creative flotsam and jetsam...

Dive in and take a look...

Poetry: 3 Poems - Ion Corcos

When the Gulls Come

No waves on shingle or a stranded fishing boat; only salt mist,  a cemetery along the windy road,  ice on the cold air,  the morning sun just above the trees. This time no pheasants hang  outside the shop, no quiet;  along the road, past the early Sunday walk, a siren, a leashed dog,  and the church  ringing and ringing its bells.  No quiet, not for the cemetery, nor the dead. The salt is nothing here;  instead, where the road turns and the narrow pavement ends, a hedge, the fence of farm.  Still, the gulls come,  settle in flocks on the ploughed field,   bring mist. The siren,  the church bells, bring the sea back;  bring salt,  smoked cod, the surge of the River Alde that ends in grey, the cold sea. 


Poetry: 'whale spins song for safe spell/ a translation' by Sarah Doyle

whale spins song for safe spell a translation
sing map sing salt sing swell sing tide
sing blue sing white sing sky sing wide
sing fin sing tail sing mouth sing tongue
sing skin sing eye sing throat sing lung
sing krill sing graze sing dive sing deep
sing dark sing moon sing dream sing sleep
sing calm sing safe sing old sing long
sing pod sing home sing whale sing song

Poetry: 'A Merry Life, And A Short One' by Kate Garrett

for Bartholomew Roberts

When the chokehold of sulfur and saltpetre
released your men, they found your body cannon-
cradled, dead eyes watching the waiting swell
below. Moments before you stood, jewelled

and sober, every inch a captain; your voice
cut short by scattered shot, commanding sailors
whose rum-lust ways steered you into ruin.
But in their sweet confusion, in the wake

of their survival, they remembered your wis
to be joined with the sea that birthed you:
the peace you made with death, the truce struck
by hourglass, shaking hands with your final

moments when you became a pirate. They will
not sail your body back to England to hang
in chains – your afterlife a heaven of foam
and tides, home in the currents of the Atlantic.

Poetry: 'Haiku for Odysseus' by Marc Woodward

Odysseus was
strapped to his mast in torment.
Butes dived in to swim

but Aphrodite
rescued him. I cannot hope
for such kind mercy.

So fill up my ears
with the beeswax of TV;
dumb me down with tea,

save me from notions
fancifully tempting me
from other oceans.

Draw the curtains close,
think about work tomorrow:
then upstairs to bed.

Locked inside at night,
safe from rivers of blue lights,
sirens in my head.

Poetry: 'Mermaid-in-waiting' by Dr Charley Barnes

With thanks to Claire
The cliff face causes shade here and there, indents in the land for the fair-skinned to hide in.
I rest on a smoothed rock and comb my windswept hair, winding tendrils that could be roots – or seaweed.
The gulls whistle overhead and the waves growl their response, as though in a long-standing feud.
I remove my rings and sparkle, set it down next to me to catch the sun – to lure the next one in waiting,
and I ask for the sea to take me.

Poetry: 'Lytham' by Katerina Neocleous


I carry the estuary -
a deadweight
of scuttled boats
among brackish puddles
and sky scudded mudflats,
far from tide and skyline.

Keel to sky I sway
on sea weary legs;
a breached hull
where the years leak
converging with salt flecked
emptiness, and no catch.


A neap tide pulls them
over rook scrub
boat graves and pale
clam beds steeped in mud
to board the long blue jetty.

Alive to the wind battering
the lifeboat station’s rig,
they quicken a resolute step
alone or hand in hand
to its flooded end.


Birds I cannot name
leave prints in the marsh,
small aimless arrows.

Fiction: 'The Snail' by Mandy-Suzanne Wong

You probably don’t get many applicants from Japan.  In accordance with your Diversity Statement, I should think you’d welcome some.  For talents like mine, Japan is the sensible place to look.  Ambiguity--as in being more than one thing and none of them--is the essence of everyday conversation around here.  So is a deep sense that the world is weirder than it looks.

My point is, being Japanese has enabled me to nurture just the kind of talent your organization seeks.  Anti-immigration laws won’t be a problem since I’ll live not in Florida but beside it.

But you’re probably wondering why I’d leave Japan if it’s so perfect.

The truth is a friend of mine died recently.  In classic novels, people often travel after that happens.

Which brings me to the key question on your application form.  Why do I believe myself uniquely suited to your organization in the capacity in which I’m applying?

First of all, Hannibal the Cannibal, the role for which I hope Hauntington Beach Theme Park will gran…