poetry and prose about place

eight days – glass floats

with 4 comments

In days before plastic and styrofoam, fishermen used glass and wood to make floats to keep their nets buoyant. 

These floats are colorful symbols of the people who make their livelihood from the sea.  In fishing communities in the Maritimes, we often see fences and walls festooned with painted wooden floats and buoys. 

Glass floats are rarer because they are so breakable.     At home, my Dad’s collection of sea shells was always accompanied by a couple of glass floats he found at auctions.  On my piano, I have a small collection of glass floats in my favorite color, green. 

The tradition lives into the next generation… when I visited my family in Ontario for eight days, earlier this month, I was delighted to see a basket of variously-colored glass floats on the hearth of the wood stove.



glass floats


the fog’s still glow

penetrates glass

and air incorporated

an age ago


weightless, flamboyant

on salt water



glass inflation

tethered by hemp

on an ocean

whipped to froth



© Jane Tims  2012


Written by jane tims

January 25, 2012 at 6:57 am

4 Responses

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  1. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a glass float. I like the visual you create with your poem. I can almost picture them bobbing in the water.



    January 28, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    • Hi Robin. They are beautiful. I know they still turn up in beach flotsum occasionally. Jane


      jane tims

      January 29, 2012 at 8:26 am

  2. I enjoyed this post, particularly the weave between history and the poem. I am imagining the light bouncing through the glass balls on the suface of the water, a wondrous image. Thank you!


    Carol Steel

    January 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

    • Hi Carol. Thanks. I like the image you create.. I see glass balls as light as foam… Jane


      jane tims

      January 26, 2012 at 7:37 pm

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