The Salt Spring Island Trolls

I have a boat
In Fulford Bay.
She does not float
To my dismay.
She lies forlorn
Upon the shore,
Ragged and torn
To sail no more.
An invalid
All full of holes,
By empty souls.
A home for sand fleas,
Her memories
So bittersweet.

She feels the lure
To sail the seas,
To test once more
The ocean breeze.
Her tattered sails
To touch the wind,
Like fairy tales,

I hatch a plan
So devilish.
My talisman,
She’ll get her wish.
A final chance
To crest a wave.
A daring dance
To watery grave.
Her pride restored,
A long-awaited
Just reward

I’ll plug her holes
With chunks of bread.
Entice the trolls
We all wish dead,
To take my boat
Out for a sail,
And when those plugs
Of bread do fail,
Those ugly trolls
Will whine and wail
And find themselves
Without a pail
To bail.



Norma Pain was born in Liverpool, England and now lives in Parksville, British Columbia, Canada. Thirty of Norma’s poems were published by Dana Literary Society, between 2004 and 2007 and she was twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize by that same on-line poetry site. She self-published a book of rhyme in 2000 called Bulging Assets.

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30 Responses

  1. Paul Freeman

    A delirious roller-coaster read spurred on by a mundane old boat.

    Thanks for the entertaining read, Norma.

  2. Sally Cook

    Norma, I am wondering…
    Why was the boat left to deteriorate?
    Why wasn’t the bread better made?
    Who are these trolls, anyway?

    Very clever poem!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comments Sally. Why indeed! Why did I write this poem in the first place. We used to cycle all over Salt Spring island but I never ever saw a troll.

  3. Cheryl Corey

    A very nice poem, Norma; the photo of the painting heightened my imagination. Shouldn’t line 13 read “sand fleas”, not “flees”?

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comment Cheryl and thank you for your sharp eye catching my spelling mistake. I shall ask Evan if he would kindly correct that for me.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comments Guy. I have been counting the syllables in this poem as 2-syllable lines. Since I am not an expert in this, I would appreciate a clarification from others. Perhaps we are both correct!!

      • Guy Warner

        Unless I am mistaken, the lines each have two iambic “feet,” each containing two syllables, one unstressed, one stressed. So four syllables total, but two feet:

        i HAVE / a BOAT
        in FUL / ford BAY

        In any case, the short lines really make the humor pop!

      • Norma Pain

        Thank you for your response Guy. I have been counting syllables incorrectly as feet. You have explained the distinction between them for me, which floats my boat perfectly!!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comment Kate. I hope you get a chance to visit the island one day. Every Saturday throughout the summer they host a very large outdoor marketplace in the town of Ganges.

      Salt Spring Island is part of the Gulf Islands and is the most populated island. It is a popular tourist and retirement destination. The island has the Salt Spring Island Apple Festival each year, showcasing over 350 varieties of apples.

  4. Geoffrey S.

    Delightful. Faithful adherence to the rhyme scheme. The only exception or “hole” is the two-syllable last line, but that’s the point.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you so much Geoffrey. I am happy that you enjoyed my poem… and the ending.

  5. Yael

    That’s a great tale of a poem, good job!
    I love the imagery of the scene you paint and the flight of imagination concerning the final disposition of the object you hold dear with the subjects you abhor. Very entertaining and fun to read.

  6. Jeff Eardley

    Up there with your best Norma. A most enjoyable piece of fun today, and boy, do we need some this week.

    • Norma Pain

      I heard a good quote: ‘You can’t beat fun for a good time’.
      Thank you for your great comments Jeff.

  7. Roy E. Peterson

    I really groove on this poem! Wonderful sense of humor with fitting terse rhymes! The concept of trolls eating the bread and drowning is something a person who is part Norwegian greatly appreciated. Love it! It rolls along in my mind as I read it and that gave me great delight!

  8. David Watt

    Norma, a very clever flight of fancy, and the short lines move the narrative along at a snappy pace. Well done!

  9. Susan Jarvis Bryant

    Norma, I just love ‘The Salt Spring Island Trolls’. I love its rhyme, its rhythm, its enticing title, and the bread to stuff up those holes… but, most of all I love the message. I suggest you get a fleet of those boats and work towards the extinction of trolls… life is much better without them! Great stuff!

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your fun comments Susan. On checking my dictionary, it would seem that the Scandinavian mythological trolls, tended to inhabit the caves and hills, so perhaps my holey boat idea won’t work!! It sure was fun to write.

  10. Margaret Coats

    Wherever the trolls lived, your incantatory rhythm called them out! Good work providing burial at sea for the boat, without endangering the poet.

    • Norma Pain

      Thank you for your comment Margaret. If only I could entice all of the evil little trolls of today, into a holey boat!

  11. David Whippman

    I’ve spent much of my life in coastal towns, and there is something very evocative about an abandoned boat. Even for a landlubber like me! Good poem.


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