I wanted to post something today, but my writing arm is idle. So I’ll resort to a rummage among my poems. Here is a storm, still remembered:
We saw nothing on the wind-glazed surface,
nothing floating in the spume as we steamed
across her last position on the chart;
no scrap of cargo, not a boiler suit,
nor a crumb of last night’s rice.
In the dark we’d talked
in bursts of dots and dashes,
that other man and me.
We’d clung in chairs chained to the deck,
one hand on the tuning knob
chasing each other’s warbling signals
as masts swayed
and phosphor-bronze aerials swung out
wild over the troughs;
the other hand thumping a big brass key –
in the cyclone.
It was sixty years ago – she flew the flag of Pakistan,
a new country. But the ‘Minocher Cowasjee’ was old
I now discover – launched as ‘Parisiana’
by Irvine’s yard in Hartlepool, where my father –
back from his war with Kaiser Bill – might well
have hammered rivets into her, hard against
his own dad’s hammer on the other side of the plate.
Three miles down they’re rusted now, those rivets;
strewn about, forgotten, like Asian mother’s tears.
She’s just another hull – after all,
the ocean floors are flung with ships…