Great hulks of ships line the wharf.
They speak in groans and creeks,
The sky is full of masts and yards, sails furled
Gently swinging in the wind.
The tide sucks at their side lapping and lushing,
Hushing and washing the wooden hulls,
Brisk with activity as men haul jigs rigged
Barrels role and bales tumble, all this is river life,
Upon Canada Water.
I see patterns in the water the shadows of ships,
The thoughts of ships, the groans and moans of men
Slaving for every penny they can make,
And the coins few in hand not long
As they walk home. All is commerce
Of tea, wool, grain, hides and silks we cannot see,
But smell the spice as its boxes shake with pure delight,
The wharf of Canada Water.
Now I stand watching the river wide,
A mallard with six chicks battles the tide
And wishes to be safe as they did all those years ago;
But now great buildings rise stately and strange,
With many coloured eyes gazing down,
Into the thick black water glowing with sunlight;
Far from the masts and spars and wooden hulls of olden days.
My grandfather sold cordage. I think of change as I stand by
Rope Street on Canada Water.
Caroline Baldock©2016 July