STAR POems: On Leaving Portsmouth

Gridlocked isle of my defence 

you sheltered me  

from French-based threats, 

but by the Solent, not your ships; 

great hulks of grey 

with glorious names: 

Invincible and Sir Galahad, 

moored in time-lines, 

a fine line 

between naval might 

and scrap. 

Hidden behind the Isle of Wight 

we’re refugees, you and I 

based on this flat gem: 

Landport, Buckland 

Fratton, North End. 


Where no-one asked my history; 

accepted me along with all 

the takeaways, tattooists, 

Poundland clones and Polish shops. 

The thousand Aqua Cars that mooch 

beneath the Pompey tower blocks, 

a post-war concrete legacy: 

‘Pickwick House’ and ‘Copperfield’, 

a nod to Dickens’ residency; 

there’s no ‘Bleak House’, ironically. 


Any port in a storm 

Portsmouth, my port. 

My storm now weathered, 

it’s time to move on; 

untether my life, 

up-anchor, get gone. 

I’ve been salvaged. 



From PO1