ramblings and things

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Lunch At The Sailmakers


Sitting in the warmth looking over the river
Where my darts partner, Bernard used to work
When they did once make sails and tarpaulins
Before it became a pub where we could lurk
After our short walk along the waterfront:
Desolation and dereliction have moved on.
Many of the old chandlers and merchants
Premise are now very nearly gone.
Bare rafters outlined against a grey sky
As tiles and bricks have been cast around
To lie where they gradually fell, to join
More obstacles on the littered  ground,
Easily avoided as we wander almost aimlessly
Surprised at how the decay has speeded,
As though it represents a past, the memory
Of which is no longer valued or needed.
The once splendid Lord Line offices stand,
Glassless windows, like blinded eyes seem
To survey the old, silted, grassed over dock
As though locked in the thrall of a dream
When the lock gates worked, letting trawlers in
To land the slippery, silver, gutted fish,
To be then  sold and shipped nationwide,
Once the Nation's favourite cheap dish.
(Not the same need for freshness
Not the same need to hurry
As fish and chips fall prey
To boiled rice and Indian curry).
Here the bobbers manhandled the crates
In wooden clogs, steel toed footwear,
Hard wearing, light and ideally suited
For the work done around there.
These clogs clattering,
The steel toes casting a spark
At times to quickly disappear
In the early morning, pre dawn dark
This rich heritage, lacking care
Cannot much longer last,
As though the City is
Ashamed of its fishing past.
So we return to The Sailmakers,
In our dreams maybe alone
As teens leave the door unclosed and
Chat away on the essential mobile phone
Or smoke their cigarettes, now banned,
Inside in public places in what is now left
Of our once free and carefree land.
We have thrown out baby and bath water
In our rush to so called progress
Not seeming to realise we possess more
Materially, but spiritually, so much less.
Through the slow closing doors
Slowly seeps the January cold:
Maybe I am redundant,
As I grey and grow inexorably old.
The shade of ever laughing Bernard seems
To hover here, as though watching me try,
And nearly always failing, so we lose
As my dart misses that elusive Bullseye.


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Lunch At The Sailmakers