PAID HANDS (CIRCA 1928)

Posted by Admin on Thursday, 2nd April 2009, 00:00

With frothy pints in hardened hands,
in four-ale bars you’ll find them from
the Anchor to the Globe – each chest
with name wool-woven, white on deep
sea blue – Terpsichore, Susanne,
White Heather, Cariad, and scores
of other craft: while here and there
Sir William Portal’s hats of red
Valdora’s crew distinguish from
the rest of those engaged in yarns
of how Shamrock lost her mast –
how Hunloke sailed Britannia,
her deck awash, a stone’s throw off
the Green’s lee-shore – or taller tales
of races lost at Babbacombe, or won
on Clyde – of flying-jibs that flew
away – of spinnakers that split.
Today, as friends, they buy their beer,
tomorrow they will man the sheets,
aloft the top-sail’s tack lift clear,
ignoring dangers of the sea,
renew a cut-throat rivalry.

T. C. Hudson
© T. C. Hudson.

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