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dinner down”. In between Jack sees enough wasted food, “to make you sick”, and with a bruising tumble down a ship’s ladder while carrying refreshments to the other men, “the coffee spilled all over my right hand. I came aft with a ‘blue haze’ all around me”. There are many joyful remembrances, such as writing letters home in the poem “Letters”, in which Jack tells of getting treats – apples, oranges, pears and scrambled eggs – for writing missives to the 2nd cook’s girlfriend. Then, in “An Orchestra in the Focsle” Jack helps form a band: “Had a regular sing-song tonight – Jeff by the focsle door, strumming; the rest of the sailors and some of the firemen scattered about the poop – ‘the ship’s orchestra’ is going full blast now – harmonica, guitar, mandolin and a tin pan trappist. They’re not bad! Not bad at all!” More than one of the poems features a white cat named Christine. In “Luck: 1”, the cat is chasing cockroaches – “good luck!” writes Jack. But most of the poem’s luck is tough, such as the accident when ‘Robbie’ smashes three teeth on of the funnel stays: “Went ashore to have the dentist yank them. Tough luck”. Or when ‘Len’ lost a little finger in the machinery: “What it didn’t cut off it crushed. Mate cut off the rest and sewed it up. Tough luck”. The poem ends with a near death: “Cameron was tight last night and fell overboard! Jackass. Lucky he didn’t drown.” The book finishes with “Homesick”, describing the last days before Jack Shreve returns home: “Homesick to-day. Rideout says we may reach home ahead of schedule. I hope he’s right. I may get some fishing in yet! Forests and streams are going to look good to me when I get home.” In the Afterword, Sandy Shreve tells readers some of her dad’s life story back in Canada and how he loved hunting and fishing with his friends, a passion he held for the rest of his life. He had a dream one night, in which he came up with what he was sure would make a perfect motto for his Fish & Game Association. “Worried that he might forget it, he got up and jotted it down,” writes Sandy Shreve. “The next morning, as soon as he woke, he eagerly reached for the scrap of paper, only to find he’d written: ‘A duck once shot will never fly again’.” Jack Shreve died in February 1965 at the age of 50 of a pulmonary embolism during treatment for lung cancer.

Fall 2015 ◆ WordWorks ◆ Page 30

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Profile for WordWorks Magazine

Wordworks Fall 2015  

WordWorks Fall 2015 issue was devoted to the ideas of retreats and readings, with many thoughtful and engaging articles, and a whole new des...

Wordworks Fall 2015  

WordWorks Fall 2015 issue was devoted to the ideas of retreats and readings, with many thoughtful and engaging articles, and a whole new des...

Profile for fbcw
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