Ferries, Tugs and Queens

Anchored in the Mersey,
there were once Empresses and Queens,
and the humble pilot boats, and ferries,
weaved their way in between.

How often had we stood there,
soaking up the icy spray,
watching the River Mersey,
bounce the ferry boats round in play.
Flying into yet another adolescent winter’s rage,
thrusting the tiny commuter craft,
towards the Princes Landing Stage.
as feverish, weather beaten hands,
worked hard against the maelstrom,
to bring the ailing vessel safely into land.
then pausing, just long enough,
to fling the gangplanks down,
releasing a log jam of green faced passengers,
to go racing off, bags and papers balanced under arm,
clattering up the covered passageways,
to their shops and offices around the town.

As a warning blast sounded on the horn,
the powerful marine engines, were reborn,
and deftly thrust into reverse,
churning up murky pictures in the silt,
of all the mighty ships, that had once been built,
and launched on Merseyside…to become,
“The ghost fleet of Liverpool,” that still,
slips away each moonlit night,
past St Nicholas’, the sailor’s church,
and onto every oceanic corner of the world.
But with three more blasts upon the horn,
the images on the tide dispersed,
lazily drifting off into mid stream,
to be dissected, with the ashes of the fleet,
by rusty dredgers, tugs and Queens,
and container ships carrying wheat and grain.

How often had we stood there,
soaking up the icy spray,
watching the spiteful Mersey,
Bounce the ferry boat round in play.

By Terry Clarke