The shipping forecast – A Poem.

© BBC 2019

This poem is quintessentially British and my followers from the Americas or other far flung lands may not appreciate the institution which is The Shipping Forecast. Broadcast on the BBC  four times a day from very early each morning until late evening.

The Shipping Forecast began after a powerful storm off the coast of Anglesey in 1859 led to the deaths of 800 people and the loss of 133 ships. Following this tragedy, the captain of HMS Beagle and founder of the Met Office, Robert FitzRoy, started maritime storm warnings, which evolved into the Shipping Forecast and weather forecasts as we know them today.

Here is a link to a video put out by the BBC in 2019 to celebrate 150 years of the shipping forecast. © BBC 2019.

The Shipping Forecast – A Poem.


Dinner is served at five to six.

Radio 4 plays in the background.

We bow our heads for grace;

Competing with the shipping forecast.

“And now the Shipping Forecast, issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency at noon today.”

Oh Lord, we thank you for this food before us now,

“Humber, Thames. Southeast veering southwest 4 or 5, occasionally 6 later. Thundery showers. Moderate or good, occasionally poor.”

And ask you to bless it to our bodies.

“Tyne, Dogger. Northeast 3 or 4. Occasional rain. Moderate or poor.”

We thank you for our friends and for their fellowship.

“Rockall, Malin, Hebrides. Southwest gale 8 to storm 10, veering west, severe gale 9 to violent storm 11. Rain, then squally showers. Poor, becoming moderate.”

And ask you to bless those who are in our hearts but not at our table.

“Southeast Iceland. North 7 to severe gale 9. Heavy snow showers. Good, becoming poor in showers. Moderate icing.”

We ask all these things in Jesus’ name.

And that ends the shipping forecast for today.


©joseph r mason 2020

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