Herring Gull

I watched the seagull
strut across the beach,
gunslinger walk,
John Wayne personified.

Sized up the swan,
decided first
to make his point,

and then discretion
in the face
of superior aggression;

backed off
and walked away
but the strut remained.

Did you see that,
how I showed him  

I could almost hear him say.


42 Responses to “Herring Gull”

  1. Christine Lanham Says:

    Mmmmmm love it…esp Gunslinger walk….I can see it all….wonderful

  2. Oh David, this is even more wonderful second time round!

    You paint such a vivid image, there is no work required to picture this gull! (He is like many people too!!)

    And because I have seen and heard you mimicking ducks and gulls many times, it is all the more meaningful and entertaining for me!

    Love you lots



  3. Elaine Randall English Says:

    I can see that gull….he was “counting coup” as the Native Americans here did.

  4. I love the bluff and bluster of gulls! However, they are clearly not entirely stupid. Great write.

  5. Smiling big! To me this is the best I have read in a while!!! I can picture the whole episode!! Hugs!!

  6. David, very nice i like the John Wayne walk.
    As you know the water works has a lot of swans and if a gull comes any where near ,they turn round and the gull’s away.

  7. Yep, seen a few gulls and a few people act just like that!

    Hope the e-mail thing is working ok now, David. By the way, one of the original 199 steps at Whitby was paid for by an Elizabeth and Tom Stanforth. I’m named after that Elizabeth … x

    • Wonderful,

      I now have a new claim to fame – I know someone who was named after one of the 199 steps!!! 🙂

      The email thing is working now – they turn up in a strange place, but they do turn up 🙂


  8. Hi David,

    LOL This poem captures the arrogance of that seagull very well, they love to be boss! Good thing you told me it is not a metaphor *big grin*
    I tried to think of the actor they remind me of, but John Wayne, as you mentioned, had the same attitude in his films, all about the territory that they need to keep for themselves. I like that last bit too 🙂 My guess is Herring Gulls are the same as our zeemeeuw. I will find out!

    Your observations are always spot on, and that last part really made me chuckle. It is great to read these poems about Whitby and it is all part of the pre fun! I can do about 80 steps now without panting, will keep pracitizing! Maybe we can do them together.

    Arohanui 🙂

    • *Big Smile*

      What a wonderful word – ‘zeemeeuw’ – it has such a feel to its sound – perfect for a herring gull – do let me know 🙂

      I hope you remember the poem when you get to Whitby – the gulls are very much part of the experience. 🙂

      Doing the 199 steps together would be to be looked forward to 🙂


  9. An absolute joy from beginning to end. Beautifully observed and constructed, and it made me smile – what more could anyone ask? Thank you.

  10. Hi David,

    I still love this. It’s a perfect poem in every way. Your observations are just so spot on and it always amuses me that the attitude of gulls is the same world over. 🙂
    I really love the lines about the swan. Having rather aggressive swans here as well and I can very much see this scene. Come nesting season here even the ducks gve them a wide berth!

    Thankyou for the smile. 🙂

    and K’s OTC

    • Hi Tikarma,

      I get great pleasure from knowing that this poem can still prompt you to a big smile.

      It was one of my earliest poems and, in a way, set a pattern for a lot of the poems which have followed.
      I love it when I am in a good enough place to observe that closely what is going on around me.

      And, as I said to Harry, swans whilst beautiful are not to be trusted. Bit like some people really 🙂

      I hope you are having a good week

      and K’sOTC

  11. I could just see this interaction. You painted this moment with sublime and lively clarity!

  12. Is it bad that I imagined the seagull in a Stetson hat? d=

    And yes, apparently I know too many seagulls in my life than I care to admit.

    Love this!

    • *Laughing Out loud*

      A stetson is absolutely perfect for a herring gull.

      I do suspect I would rather have seagulls in my life than swans.
      Seagulls I find to be rather straightforward birds whereas swans are all outward show and inward bad temper!! 🙂


  13. Vera Hazelgrove Says:

    I like it, very enjoyable!

    Yes, makes you think, – that seagulls are the same anywhere in the world, – still very much like people too 🙂

    Vera & Karley

    • *Big Smile*

      Thank you Vera – the swans and the seagulls are around us all the time in our every day life. And, as you say, the same anywhere in the world 🙂


  14. I know Whitby and the steps very well, and have met those gulls – and lots of people exactly like them too! And wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people acted like the gull in your beautifully observed poem?

  15. lol …. made me smile! goes well with my coffee this morning. 🙂 love how you capture essence of a scene and make it like being-there.

  16. This is great fun and flows beautifully – well done again David!
    I showed it to my wife who laughed, said she loved it, and then added: “that’s males the world over!”.
    I regret showing it to her now … 🙂

  17. peta straatman Says:

    from now on, if i see a herring gull with its waddling walk it will be wearing a stetsun.


  19. I enjoyed the personification of the gull. I know that gull very well on the beach and in person.

  20. guttermutt Says:

    Never underestimate the grit of a gull!!!! 😀

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