In the Rising Sun, nursing a pint, argue religion
and see through the window, one-legged pigeons.
Shanghaied out of Liverpool; condoms offshore
here's a grog, lad. Swab the decks, Jack Tar.
Keel-hauled mate, master at Pier Head, thrown bread,
gulls in the wake, green lights and, in a floating shed,
Jolly Jack sings a briny shanty. Two men carry him out.
Barometers fall in pelting silence; Old Murphy shouts.
Sail for Rotterdam, ready forward ropes,
cast off in Birkenhead for a voyage of lost hopes.
The mate sees diving tars, an albatross with dolphins
flys the Jolly Roger, toasting shipwrecked captains.
Shanghaied sailors vomit foam; the hull trembles,
inviting ruin to Liverpool homes. Now leaving:
fifteen men on a bottle of rum. Swing the lead.
Bar open, Murphy capsizes: grog fills his head.
Meat pies sing echoes of river smells
sewage a la carte, served at eight bells,
shoulder parrot and glass of ale in hand.
Of course it's all a problem with your glands.
By stone pillars a bobby checks. The Mersey gurgles,
pulls wooden beer barrels back to pubs, burgled
in the night Sailors watch engines in the turning tide
a barge thumps, rolls; the river rises, slips either side.
Dead man's hulk ahead. Yellow arms grab ropes,
captains laugh as they Shanghai drunken blokes,
bilges wait for Chinese curries eaten after four
and we'll never sail, we promise, never more.