Fish and Chips by the Sea: a shadorma

What is a Shadorma?

Shadorma is an invented poetry form. Its origin comes from Spain. We know not a lot about how it came to be. The word Shadorma is not a Spanish word. I reckon two inebriated tourist poets sitting at a Spanish bar drinking Rioja invented the poetry form. That’s what I think. Isn’t it amazing how an invented form can survive, even though no one knows whence it came? Whatever its origin, I find the syllabic format fun! The syllable formula is: 3, 5, 3, 3, 7, 5. In sestet (6 lines) stanzas.

My Shadorma poem is in response to Poet of the week Sylvia Cognac W3 #31 Prompt to write a Shadorma on favourite food. 
These are her guidelines: 
– Write a shadorma, up to seven stanzas long; 
- Topic: Favorite food/s to prepare and/or eat.

My favourite food is the all-time classic ‘eat by the seaside’ dish of fish and chips.

Fish and Chips by the Sea | Photo: Lesley Scoble


a shadorma
Fish and chips 
drooling down your lips, 
cod or plaice, 
salt and vinegar dressing; 
fresh wind in your face. 

Haddock fish 
(more expensive dish) 
mushy peas 
by wild seas. 
Sea breezes blowing inland, 
salt, sea-spray, and sand. 

Hungry gulls 
in gathering flocks 
around us 
wanting to eat fish and chips. 
They wait and they watch. 

A woman 
wields her walking stick.
The gull swoops; 
he’s too quick 
and steals her fish, and a chip. 
We find it funny. 

It’s too bad! 
The day’s too sunny 
to be cross 
at her loss 
The gull flies away up high— 
Goodbye fish, goodbye!

L. S.  December 2022
Seagulls eye my fish and chips | Photo: Lesley Scoble

A little bit of history

We can thank Jewish immigrant, Joseph Malin, for opening the first Chippy in 1860. The shop was in Cleveland Street, London—within the sound of Bow Bells (which makes it a good old honest Cockney Chip Shop!) It was a first (although there was a family run Chippy in Mossley, near Manchester in the North). Northerners claim that the Lee’s family shop opening three years after Joseph Malin’s was the first. I am not going into this argument between the North-South divide. I congratulate both culinary innovators. Let’s not have a chip on our shoulders about it!

Malin’s popular dish of serving fish with chips was a sensation in 1860. His shop sold the last Malin fish and chips in 1970.

Fish and chips were the only foods during the World Wars to not be rationed. The combination of fried fish and chips remains the nation’s favourite dish today. What about Curry and Chinese? Yes, they are the nation’s favourite food as well. For example, I like my chips with curry sauce!

A woman

The woman in my poem is a genuine character. An elderly couple on a bench by the harbour wall were eating fish and chips. Behind them stood a seagull, looking down at them. She brandished her stick up at it. “Go away, go away!”

The bird had done this before—and was a master tactician.

“Cover your fish, cover your fish!!” she nagged her husband.

Then the gull swooped. The poor man’s dinner was gone. The woman thrashed her stick again, but this time at her husband. 

Her haranguing voice only faded when they were some distance away. It was a sitcom comedy at its funniest.

My thanks to Sylvia Cognac for her culinary W3 #31 Prompt. My thanks also to David, The Skeptic’s Kaddish for his wonderful weekly prompt.

Seagulls desire my favourite seaside lunch.

35 responses to “Fish and Chips by the Sea: a shadorma”

  1. Also, thanks for the history lesson, I didn’t know any of that! Very informative. I agree with you, no need to quarrel over who started it first. I thought that line “let’s not have a chip on our shoulders about it!” was hilarious ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Made me smile, I live near the sea so this is not alien as a scene, but you have written in such a way I am now craving fish and chips, damn 😊 delightful read and a lovely use of the form.

    Liked by 1 person

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