A ship long laid up is a filthy thing
Cabled with rust, debris of the shore gang,
Filters gangrened, only a homesick tang
Reminds us of our longed-for suffering:
The sea! The watches pass, the hours take wing
Like seagulls stuffed with bread. Tin-tin; pang-pang.
And this monotony is our Sturm und Drang
Of which few poets have the heart to sing.
I like to think we’re scaling the old world
Down for a dose of red lead, as hammers snap
And ever grindstones wait to whet their lust.
Splendid to think so, yet in dreaming whirled
To abstract hulls, one falls into the trap
Set by that two-faced pimp who sees mere rust.
From London Magazine, Vol. 1 No.9, December 1961