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Poetry Magnum Opus



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The berthing master's bell clangs:

lock gates open to the river.

And through rips and swirls

of the racing spring tide,

a battling tug finds refuge.

With it comes branches and logs

from storm battered trees:

two carcasses,

one a sheep,

the other a pig;


and swollen with bodily gases

that make it appear human.

Lock gates close: and as waters rise

there are angry shouts at the gangly man,

probing-- with a long boat hook,

who punctures the pig.

And those on the nearby pier

reel back at the stench as he mouths--

"Okay!.... the child's not here!”

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Some striking images. Did not expect that ending. Almost unnerving.

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A bubble of thought which re-surfaced in the early hours as I recalled my youth.. and when I stepped out with the harbour-master's daughter. :smile:

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It was not uncommon to witness animal carcasses coming in with the high spring tides.. though there was an accepted practise that if they found their way through the lock gates and were bloated, they were to be treated extremely carefully. One of the saddest moments of my early life was seeing a five year old boy floating face down in a lock, having wandered off from his nearby home. He'd fallen in when no one was around, couldn't get out and drowned. I was eight at the time.. flying home-made balsa wood and rubber-banded aeroplanes.. a Saturday morning treat with my friends. One flew close to the lock and an older boy raised the alarm... I'm creeping up to 70 now and still think of the life and times that small child lost.

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