OLWG #102- The Trade

This week’s prompts are at the bottom.
Practice makes perfect. Let me know what you think.

Here’s how to play along, if you are unsure.

Some of you who know me, or who have read enough of my postings, are aware of the fact that I am a submariner. Submarines have been around for a long time, though not as long as poetry. I thought I might bring to your attention the existence of a famous submarine poem ‘The Trade’ from the book “Sea Warfare” (1916) by Rudyard Kipling : A combination of prose and poetry, kinda like a haibun; only different.

The term ‘The Trade’ refers to the submarine service. The part of “Sea Warfare” from which this is derived consists of three articles that Kipling wrote about British submarine activities, published in The Times, between 21 and 28 June 1916. As published in the book, they are preceded by a verse, “The Trade”.


THEY bear, in place of classic names,
Letters and numbers on their skin.
They play their grisly blindfold games
In little boxes made of tin.
Sometimes they stalk the Zeppelin,
Sometimes they learn where mines are laid,
Or where the Baltic ice is thin.
That is the custom of “The Trade.”

Few prize-courts sit upon their claims.
They seldom tow their targets in.
They follow certain secret aims
Down under, Far from strife or din.
When they are ready to begin
No flag is flown, no fuss is made
More than the shearing of a pin.
That is the custom of “The Trade.”

The Scout’s quadruple funnel flames
A mark from Sweden to the Swin,
The Cruiser’s thund’rous screw proclaims
Her comings out and goings in:
But only whiffs of paraffin
Or creamy rings that fizz and fade
Show where the one-eyed Death has been
That is the custom of “The Trade.”

Their feats, their fortunes and their fames
Are hidden from their nearest kin;
No eager public backs or blames,
No journal prints the yarn they spin
(The Censor would not let it in! )
When they return from run or raid.
Unheard they work, unseen they win.
That is the custom of “The Trade.”

This week’s prompts are:

  1. Do the authorities know you’re here?
  2. as you slept
  3. what became of forever?

Go ahead and dive in, set your imagination free!
Write something
Ready, Set, Go – you have 25 minutes, but if that is not possible, take as long as you need and, have fun!