River Dreaming

Walking to the pier head,
where the dirty pontoons
grated on their moorings
and the river flowed fast and furiously,
enough to kill the unwary :-
he thought of Uncle Charlie.

Charlie, told them all each year,
( With the help of drambuie )
powerful memories of him and Gladys
dancing their way across the river
on the ‘Daffodil’ with, sisters, brothers, soldiers
in the swirl of VE Day celebrations,
under a night of brilliant rockets,
gallant promises,
to the blasting horns of troop ships
linked up for miles.

When he was a boy, his mother said
You could cut the atmosphere at Charlie’s:
Neither gave an inch, one stubborn,
Charlie storming at the least thing out of place
slamming doors and grumbling.
Gladys killed her own affection
Until they took her to the home in Seaforth
Then she cried a little.

By the Alantic convoy memorial
he leant upon the balustrade,
letting the iron chains give to his body:
gazing at the plastic bottles on the tide
bobbing in suspension – always changing direction.
Where had it all gone wrong.
Why should a man and woman
strike each other into shards.
He would choose wisely, if he chose at all!

By DIck Hayes