The double decker, modest carmine and tuscan sun
thirty hands high, or more,
portholes stretching lengthways,
the captain steering below.
A hulk, a tub, of excitement and wonder,
a bus, as conjured in the innocent mind of youth –
travel, wondrous freedom, adventure –
a ship no doubt, but not any old ship, not even one.
A skiff, reaching and stretching,
beetling across a choppy river mouth,
sails flapping to catch the breeze.
That sickening sway side to side,
a fishing boat leaving the shelter of a sea wall,
slapped by cross-currents.
The heave, this trawler of humans; too high
yet outwardly stable, rocking
between the billows on a tarmac sea.
Yawing, with every little road bump;
no smoothness, no guile,
a gale, blowing Force 9 to 10.
Racing, no keel, no spinnaker,
yet on this two-up road, the thrumming diesel
coughs and whines, leaning into bends, braggishly.
Until we arrive at safely at port
like an ice-breaker, pushing through flotsam and jetsam
crisp packets to port, heeled-in chuddy to starboard.