For Those In Peril On The Sea



At Liverpool Street station’s rear end sprouts 
A semi verdant oasis. One part biarritz, 
One part Wembley, complete  with lava lamp
Verges of a green graced semblance to Kent; 

Shimmer up Sun Street to see the ancient arse
Of the railway mounted by pyjama tinged
Scrapers merging now with sky colour
To make this strange set urban space heaven sent. 

Bar chairs like earrings hung at the tip of their
Callow tables. Bins as sentinels guarding
Against the imminent Intrusion of those 
Who stain nature’s strain fighting as it is

Through the paving to prove Itself fit for saving 
In a world which considers the cappuccino
To be more beautiful than the rose. 
London, you lean on the edge of Atlantis. 

We can glimpse It’s rim now in puddles
Banished by this current sun, which murders
Gardens by day and makes the suited animals suffer,
Whether in fur or nylon; surely the slow descent

Has begun. And yet for now above ground
We cling to the illusion of surface. As I write
Perched here men are dying on the Atlantic’s low bed. 
It is Wednesday today. Their oxygen runs out

Tomorrow. I will be at work when their minute 
And the last of their breath will be shed. 
For breath can be shed as well as blood, milk
And coffee. Cities can keep secrets just as oceans

And storms mystify. And yet we all disconnect. 
Was there once a thread between people? 
If there was those men need it and this respite
In the sunshine is just another buoy bobbing 

In an uncharted waters. Meanwhile peace
And turmoil conjoin and we are unfound
And unheeded, caught by calm and by chaos 
As further forces regard us somewhere beyond
silent skies


                                                          David Erdos 21/6/23




The monied men have now passed 
But consider the refugees who too met the water;
78 on one vessel and so many more swallowed up;

Stevie Smithing above the sea bed as something
Immeasurably darker consumes them; as if fate itself
Were partaking in an hourly sip from deaths cup. 

Let’s not have Unpriti Patel or Braverman as our Ahabs.
We have our Moby Dick Donalds and Boris as Jonah
Who will eat himself free soon enough. So let us take

Neptunes note and never again slice iced oceans.
Let the dignity of all dolphins teach all that’s swimming
And hidden beneath deep sea stuff. 

For the human spirit is slush when tossed and turned
By fear’s fathoms. The ship in the bottle will shatter
And sink behind glass which is eternally black

Despite the transparent sheen of all water. But across
Each sea blood is broiling in great thrashes of foam,
And sweat and trespass. 

Perhaps the sea punishes anyone who pushes against
Its kept secrets. The Titanic remains should have
Blurred now into the loss of light when life ends

And another strange space replaces the shape
Of the sunken. For there is no ascent, no salvation.
Not even angels it seems get the bends. 

One thinks of Spielberg and Shaw. Of 1912.
And Bermuda. Even Robert Maxwell, whale bloated
And then, the Mafia hits in black bags.  “You will sleep

with fishes.” Perhaps we should barely dip our toes
When in Brighton, St. Tropez or Gaeta, lest wary
Of coastguards we are subject to drift and net drags 

Perhaps Shakespeare’s sea should ensure
We stay Calibanned on our islands. Monstrous,
And mistaken, we have never I think known our place.

For if Prospero is God practising a truly alien magic
And Ariel is all angels singing from within Christ’s true face,
Or Mohammed’s, or more we may at last have our beacon

Shining now across surface while those it would
Search for are far fathomed forever and now
Waving beneath, without trace.


                                                         David Erdos 23/6/23 



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