River-doors are not sea-doors. They open
Through mirrors and library shelves,
Through glasshouse sweat and damp attic walls.

They are the isomers of boredom.
Fleeing through a river-door the adult world’s critique
You will hear the foul yawn of low tide caught

Au naturel in its khaki-tripe skin
Between the dented ironclad revetments
Of Drypool and Scott Street:

Barges, drowned dogs, drowned tramps, all are
Subdued to its element, worked
Into the khaki, with ropes and old staithes,

Estuarine polyps and leathery excresences
No one has thought of a name for.
So much for childhood. Later you sit

From the long afternoon to the full moon’s evening,
Blowing your dole on the landlord’s voice:
At high tide, he says, in that intimate gurgling tone,

The river revisits his cellar,
Caressing the chains of the exciseman’s ghost
Where he swings between this world and water’s; but no,

It is never convenient to go down and see for yourself
How the river might stand at the foot of the steps.
The problem’s the safety. The wife. It’s the council

He says, giving off the warm odour of bullshit.
However, you seem to be drinking the river in mild
And be eating its fruits from the pickled-egg jar

And as the product of refreshment hear
The river-door quietly open downstairs
Under the weight of the waters.

 

 

 

 

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