My Father’s Ghost

We clambered through HMS Victory
[as if on a hunt] – Dad had served on
her decks guiding people [like us] – I
ducked [& he must have – Lofty – his
submariner moniker] – I steered my
fellow visitors – my youngest son [&
his mate] – keeping an eye out for a

ghost – In her gift shop they bought
me a bullet of familiar brassy-ness –
[I knew it fifty years before as a pair
of gunner’s reminders – sawn shells
from Dad’s firings – I have no recall
of a specific calibre – X-millimetres
stamped deep – cold weights – now

doorstops – somewhere they play a
role – redundant T-Class munitions]
& in that silent belly – on her lower
decks – looking at her piled ballast –
slopes of pig iron – shingle – a spirit
met me [in shadows she stared up –
& maundered – I knew your father]