Dockyard

Dockyard

Discharged of duty,
the cranes are extinct sauropods,
fossilising as they stand.
Smudges of smoke
and a clattering of rain 
on corrugated iron
fill the night.

Caulkers and other men
of toil,
circumscribed by whistle
and clock,
are gone,

having filed by
the oil-black water
a final time,

the women's 
failed crane bags
and grimoires
flung into the inky depths.

The tone 
is commensurate with the hour,
drifting, reconciled,
on a cat's-paw 
breeze,

as the pub empties
on the moated hill,
wistful eyes
riding the inlet down
to the padlocked gates,
before turning and blurring
against the torrent,
—hard and warm
and cauterising.


©AJM
 
 —from my book 
            Heading North (2015)