Abide With Me

After the global climacteric,
the four-minute warming, the drought
and construction of great silver towers
for the final, essential distillation,
I loaded my mountain-bike panniers
with Accrington honeydew melons
and Forthriverbed tangerines,
pedalled my way across rocky
escarpments and gulches to forty-
one North, fifty-twenty-
two West and clambered aboard.

Most days I spend in the shade;
there is much to explore
and the pantries have yielded up
marmalade, beans and dried fish.
But by evening I take Uncle Wallace’s
Edison cylinder phonograph
up to the boat deck and listen
to ‘Bunker Street Rag’ and his
favourite Wesleyan hymn,
while somewhere beyond Nova Scotia
the unsinkable giant sends signals
I choose to ignore in the dark.

Steerage, as usual, are the last to find out.

From TRIO 7 (Blackstaff Press, 1992)

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