Cliffe to Gravesend

Same train, same bus, same strange metal giraffes.
This, though, is different. The storm wind is armed:
tiny water dumdums, as hard as ice,
spear and splay, needling my defenceless face.

Plastic mud-larky litters the foreshore:
old rope, smashed flowerpots and bookies’ pens
blown out of the water by gale forces.

At Shornemead Fort we rest and eat our pies.
We pass short-shank horses and burnt out cars.
We walk the wet backs of Gravesend boatyards.
Shocked and silenced, we board the train back home.

Cliffe

Waxy sunshine, low in the winter sky,
makes twilight in the middle of the day.

Weird palavers of birds – lapwings we think –
stretch and compress: twist, swoop, and come to rest.

Flat against the north horizon, motionless,
stand strange giraffes on London Gateway Docks.