Star POems: Ferries at Southsea

At George’s, we see the ferries coming in,
huge trays of light buoyant in the dark blue evening,
floating out of the night towards the palm trees,
towards the young drunk spraycanning the pavement,
his words sputtering away. We watch the ferries,
coming in, their unsteady flickerings like poems,
freighted with the dead, the living and the refugees,
carrying those who don’t mind the long way over,
lotus-eaters or dreamers or souls returning,
lit up and floating, like lights themselves,
like the strings of lights that curve and stretch
along Clarence Parade, lighting us to our cars
when we leave at midnight. Soon those night-travellers
will disembark too, dragging their rucksacks
down slipways, smuggling their talents through customs,
dreaming firm ground under their feet,
dreaming, as they try to enter a new berth,
of their children in safe houses
in quiet streets where nights can be dull,
and the only flash is the flash of a car’s light
on the elder flowers, crowded and sultry.

Stephanie Norgate