Today the colours of evening caught in the lens of a lengthening day are shadowed by the past –
a sepia history of the coking coal in mounds awaiting dockside ships.
It was here you toiled amongst the fuel your son would shovel in the grime and heat of engine rooms
and here before the dock was drained and cleaned, the moorings and the coal all gone,
your world was ended at the sidings of the West Bute Dock – some affliction of the heart it seems.
Today this evening tourist traces steps you may have walked, imagines life before electric light, records the images you’d never dreamed.
Sitting in the shelter watching the sea, the estuary blue in the afternoon sun, white-cider cans scattering around my feet, I remember the night, the bite of cold and the beans on toast from the Salvation Army, and hope tonight there’ll be a place at the hostel or that cider will ease the pain, bestow oblivion.
Afternoon Sounds from the Window
A train rattling along the pier, footsteps on the path and birdsong from the council gardens – a persistence of sparrows and pigeons,
the occasional car door catch and snatch of radio sound released to the air
and half-heard voices
and the distant squealing of kids on the fairground rides
and the darker screams inside from behind the door.
A Confusion of Politics and Love
Enough of the blues from Mississippi, that delta misery from over there.
We have our own, not only the chords in endless eight, twelve and sixteen bars, not just the ecstasy and end of love,
but every day the end of hope, the homeless, the sanctioned, the hopelessly confused
whose pulse is beating with the rhythm of the blues
an analgesic for the lies of politicians, the fickleness of love.
Adrian Green lives in Southend, Essex, the county where he was born, and is one of the organisers of the Essex Poetry Festival. A former small press magazine editor, his poems and reviews have appeared in several magazines and anthologies in England and Romania as well as two pamphlet collections. His current full-length collection is Chorus and Coda from the Littoral Press.