remember as a child going down to the Liverpool docks to see
a merchant seaman uncle I adored off on a voyage.. We none
of us ever saw him again. Since then, there have been so many
There is a boat down on the quay come home at last.
The paint’s chipped, the sails stained as if
Time’s pissed up against them.
I imagine the sea-routes it’s followed,
Sailing through the world’s sunken veins
With its cargo of longings;
A little boat that’s nuzzled its way
Into the armpits of forests,
That’s sliced through the moon’s reflection,
Through the phosphate that clings to the lips of waves.
I knew its crew once,
Those boys manacled to freedom
Who set sail over half a century ago,
And were like giants to me.
A solitary child in awe of oceans
I saw them peel their shadows from the land
And watched them depart.
What did they think when they peered
Over the rim of the world,
Where Time Roared and bubbled
And angels swooped like swallows?
Reading an ancient Morse-code of starlight,
Stranded by the longing to be elsewhere,
What secrets did they learn to forget?
I longed to be among them,
A passenger curled up in fate’s pocket,
I longed to be a part of them-
Those ghosts who set sail in my childhood,
Those phantoms who shaped me,
That marvelous crew for whom
I have stretched a simple goodbye
Out over a lifetime