Bon voyage

We saw three ships come sailing by
Full sail on sea-fields of early summer’s blue
They clipped at pace the foam-flecked swells
In thrall to squall’s whim, and all was well

But not before the two we saw
With keels hauled twixt hedge and hard shoulder 
Tight-lashed against road’s roll, pitch and yaw
Unrigged through fields decked with bells of blue

Needless of tack and jibe and heedless of winds prevailing
Sails instead stowed away on a voyage prescribed
These yearning tide-lovers lugged their solace 
Along tributaries tugging their souls to the shore

Neither sightings nor soundings were summoned to steer
Nor heave or ho for such a predestined to and fro
Til crows gifted their watch to cormorant and gull
The sea wet its welcome, and all was well.

Devised for ‘Poetry Illustrated, a Teenager’s View’, an exhibition of art by Sutton High School students in response to the work of local poets, at Royal Marsden Hospital, Sutton February–July 2020

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