mudlarking

waiting for the train back
we stood on Blackfriars bridge
watching the rippling green water
slide silently along beneath us
how often is the tide
high and low she said
twice a day, I said
six hours to high tide
then six hours to low
it’s got something to do
with the sun and moon
but I’m not sure how
we watched a tourist boat
foam noisily towards the bridge
a voice on its tannoy
pointing out things of interest
which at that particular moment
included the bridge, and us
tide is turning, I said
as the sun was sinking
behind the new city scrapers
whilst down on the shore
a man on the mudflat
dug for coins and whatnot
something of people long gone

song to the thames

run me gently
roll me on
carry me safe till my journey’s done

by tilt boat and lighter, by trireme and flat
by onkers and eel boat, by collier and yacht
by shallop and cutter and carpenter’s cock
from Shadwell Stairs to Teddington Lock

run me gently
roll me on
carry me safe till my journey’s done

by stumpie and cutter, by longboat and ferry
by clinkers and culler, by schooner and wherry
by dhow and crayer and coracle and barque
from Gallion’s Point to Ransome’s Dock

run me gently
roll me on
carry me safe till my journey’s done

by flunes and funnies, by gigs and whiffs
by randan and dinghy, by scullers and skiffs
by barge and jetski and punt and cog
from The Isle of Sheppey to The Isle of Dogs

run me gently
roll me on
carry me safe till my journey’s done