Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 216: Helensburgh


The swans in twos would sail along,
Along the grimy pier;
The winds were wet; the seas were strong;
The captain smelt like beer;
The harbour-master hummed a song
And hauled a salty rope among
The passengers and gear.

The waters where the colours float
Did not seem very deep;
Upon the stones a fishing boat,
Its ribs were pale and steep;
A hobo crumpled in a heap,
His crinkled eyes were shut with sleep,
His head lay on his coat.

I understand it now; the way
That life has slipped aside,
While I was watching by the bay
For something great, and wide;
And waters wash up every day
We things that have been thrown away,
We articles of tide.


Thomas Clark

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