The Sailors' Homecoming

There is a time

channel mists behind, we sit at anchor for the tide

then in the early hours the Thames pilots board

and - slowly for the mist still lingers close to land -

we move up river reaches, take tugs and find our lock

to gently nudge our way between the barges

until we are tied up again in Albert's dock,

derricks swung and hatches open -

and I am free

 

Again, this time

long voyage behind, we discharge the crew

then within the hour, they have forgot the sea,

though slowly for those green-blue waves were high

as Biscay's rolling swell with white and flying spume

tossed our ship around and stayed out homeward course -

now they find their way through London's greyish gloom

to spend a leave in cheery family homes

for they are free

 

Again, this time

river tides behind, as we rest in our home port

then within the hour, the gangway swarms with men

and - as swinging nets of frozen lamb are landed

and pallets of butter and cheese leave our chilly hold

I walk along the wharf between the brown-grey water

and the tall sheds that keep our cargo cold,

the ship, the sea has let me go -

and I am free

1960sanchoragebargesBiscaycargodischargedocksfogLondonmerchant navypilotssailorsshipsstormstugs

◄ Colour 309 U

Contrapuntal ►

Comments

jennifer Malden

Mon 22nd Oct 2018 20:17

Lovely poem - makes one think of longgone times when the East Indiamen came into the docks after months at sea
and spent all their leave, (and pay) in the squalid boarding houses taverns, and presumably the brothels.

Unusual - Jennifer

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Taylor Crowshaw

Thu 18th Oct 2018 17:52

Beautiful poem...?

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Cynthia Buell Thomas

Thu 18th Oct 2018 16:55

Completely engaging - the detail is superb. A privileged read.

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