The One O'Clock gun.

Boom!
for a hundred and twenty years
Merseysides heart
beat once a day
friendly
comforting
a reminder that life
was regular
things taken care of

Boom!
one o’clock
on the dot
the Old Overhead trembled
cloth capped dockers paused
as did the click clack of high heels
adored from afar
they worked in the Cunard building
and knew it.

Boom!
Nobody died from shock
that we heard of
Seacombes Ferry didn’t pause
mid-wallow
in its fight with silt stained waves
only a few raucous gulls
and a lost starling
rose from pitted railings
hovering awhile adrift in the breeze
closer than a man could reach
before flapping out to the sea.

Boom!
An iron sea squirt
open mouthed
corroded brass
belched forth greeting
and warning
time moves on
things still to be done
meanwhile all is well

Boom!
our cannon resited.
Birkenhead at last got its own back
on its famous sister.
Whilst the grey plume drifted
inland
obscuring Wapping Dock
sea captains dutifully regulated their
clocks
reassured Scousers
returned to work
as did the click clack of the typing pool.

Boom!
the one o'clock gun has gone
but.
Liverpool's heart beats on.

By F Forthlin