Even on a summer night
the river wind can chill,
making couples huddle.
Not these two:
they came and stood,
leaning on the rail in front of me,
just large enough
the broken trembling silver zigzag
of a Mersey-troubled moon.
As we moved off, he lit a cigarette;
she pulled up the collar of her coat;
the gap remained.
I wondered, then, what could have passed between them,
why they had no words – but there were none:
just the dogged engine's murmuration;
the steady, cresting whisper of the wash.
They remained like this the journey through:
together – yet, withal, a moon apart;
a handhold's breadth, left empty, shore to shore.
we tyre-shouldered to the landing stage,
and kissed him
but she never spoke
- perhaps because she knew I was in earshot.
If you have any comments on this poem, Ken Cumberlidge would
be pleased to hear from you.