Barnacle encrusted stumps remain.
Thrusting, vertebral fossils
From tidal glar pools and rising silt.
The bar is no longer dredged:
Time gently smudges over noisy, dark,
Hard men stooping –
Their iron shovels grate on coal,
Organic metronomes in coal boat bellies.
I remember dimly the last coal boat
That hove to at the quay, then slipped away,
Leaving coal dust to settle, like age.
I’d leap and dive from great stone steps
Measuring days in the high tide times.
I fished here for pollock with dead-man’s-fingers
Torn cruelly from tortured crabs.
But now, luxury seafront apartments crowd
Like schoolyard bullies on the harbour walls
And the silt rises as the stories die.