I have often stood bemused
across the river from fabled Pocahontas’ grave,
once Defoe country, his brickworks and Crusoe,
a place you don’t name
for fear of ridicule,
now a murk-rippled Thames’ scummy shoreline.
Arriving seagulls shriek in derision;
dingy dredgers dawdle like shifty tramps;
lumpen container ships insult the humbled port;
cranes droop and rust, rail tracks disappear
under shabby weeds –
the only life reclaiming this stretch of river.
A lone angler stares at the unyielding water,
scant hope in a desolate place.
Behind me a whiteboarded pub,
‘The World’s End’,
named by a jester
as though this miserable river front
could ever match Finis Terrae.
Yet in some ways it does.
It is the crumbling jetty,
the visible vestige, of our old world –
clippers, cutters and coasters,
purveyors of empire and
ten pound liners heading out
Departures with no landmark,
no Three Graces or torch bearing statue,
no nostalgic image to hold dear.
Just a dismissive wave of a hand.
For me, there’s a feeling of loss, of nostalgia, of things so precious lost forever. We call it Hiraeth here. It’s beautifully written and so expressive and sad.
Thank you, Gee. Seeing the state of the lower Thames, I felt it must have been better once.
So well written and expressed with deep feeling.It does bring back memories of a home land from which I departed well over seventy years ago.,a homeland forever lost, but always remembered with affection.Thank you for sharing Nemo. Be lucky, Peter.
Thanks, Peter. Funny thing nostalgia, often making the past appear better than it actually was.