The Boat

His boat had seen action in the East –
the reek of cooled sweat met him –
not yet mopped by long-damp cloths –
Never dried enough to work well

so that his first breath taken underwater
faltered – his onshore training failed him
making him cough like that last fag had
as he carried his black kit bag

He crouched to find the right height
at which he was to live and work –
now his skimming on the waves
were inked notes on his service record

This is how it started – it’ll make him –
those hours of constant perspiration –
a hundred nights of coffin dreams –
and still yet to learn Jack Speak


Our closest have lives to live and enjoy –
delayed redundancy in our sick bed-employ

Carers – co-sufferers – careers not chosen –
tend the disconnected – the mumblers and frozen

Altered – shameful – re-written contracts –
No wedded-bliss when we ill cannot act

Wives – husbands – family – relatives old –
airbrushed awareness as age takes hold

My prop – my chained-helper – engaged far too cheap –
Her offset disbursement being too tired to weep

When care is passed on – hear my atheist-prayer –
I ask her forgiveness for our marriage – unfair