2021-04-14

NaPoWriMo - 2021 - VII - The fog being what it is...

The fog being what it is...



...the bellman comes and tolls his bell.
His creaks tread up the outside stairs.
The last few drunks lurch up from chairs
and stumble off to bunks and lashings
of blustery words from bosun's lips
on ships which may not sail in the morning
the fog being what it is.

Between the chimes the sailors' feet
are fading flatly down the street
as the bellman tolls his mournful bell
but whether to summon or to dispel
some troubled spirit of mists and seas
is quite beyond my power to tell
the fog being what it is.

I too had better rise and leave.
My tiny garret coldly waits
and I have tangled threads to weave
into tattered nets by the whale-oil's flicker
which only I shall light in my window --
but first I'll walk the bellman to the dock
the fog being what it is.

We walk in silent whitewashed haze.
Familiar streets are strangely mazed
and the fog-horn shudders the vapour
wound around the cast-iron lamppost
and if neither of us tells a ghost story
it is only because we are living one
the fog being what it is.

And see we've come down to the dock.
A fresher onshore breeze here blowing
vessels that rock and creak on dark water,
the bellman turns towards his light
and I ought to turn for home, except for
my empty window where the white sheets curl
the fog being what it is.

Fog vapours and the mists compete
to drive me from the sodden town
drag me along the strip of salt-wet concrete,
bollards, mouldering rope, and ships
where a man can put his name down for the tropics
—tell the bellman he can have my nets—
the fog being what it is.



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