Glassy pleasure cruiser on its voyage through history
Under London Bridge and past St Paul’s great dome
With a cargo of tourists
Toting Nikon cameras,
Souvenirs and presents for the folks back home.
Streamlined Clipper ferry flagged with corporate logos
Surging down from Westminster towards the Tower
With a cargo of bankers
Braying into smartphones
Making reservations for the long lunch hour.
Solid blunt-nosed tugboat churning up from Docklands
Dragging rusty barges tied in pairs astern
With a cargo of refuse
Packed in containers:
Some to be buried, and some to burn.
John Masefield is among my favourite poets: having his narrative epic Reynard the Fox read aloud to me is one of my most cherished memories of school (RIP Tom Hoare) and really showed me how poetry can paint pictures and tell stories. I was reminded of one of his most famous poems, Cargoes, when I was in London yesterday, watching the boats on the Thames, and decided to write my own version. Sadly there were no ‘quinquiremes of Nineveh’ passing Bankside Pier at the time, so I’ve had to make do with the somewhat more prosaic material available.