Hello Humber Gateway,
you old dock drab,
winking at passing commerce
with your ample warehouse acreage,
welcoming skirts hitched
up the legs of the Ouse and Trent.
Under stretched skies,
I am a salmon swimming the sixty-two,
past rotting coal fired corpses,
where orderly pylons queue the lanes,
sturdy girls whispering old secrets;
gossip from a shabby adolescence.
On a three-quarter empty train,
I see the summer poet watching ghosts
play in the cinders of railway sidings,
silhouetted sentinels standing by;
cranes rooted by stagnant water
and gently rusting Tom Pudding hoists.
Down breeze block back lanes
and brick pond waste lands,
kids test the friction of bare skin
in the canopies of scaffolding,
while mad dogs howl unseen
from the depths of dark houses.
And why am I compelled to return,
revisit this corroded dock salvage,
resurrect this east coast accent
from a time that rips open my chest
and causes these scales to fall?
I wonder if it’s a salmon thing
or just a Goole thing.
Picture Credit: Back alley, Adeline Street, Goole, by Mick Garratt (wikicommons)