Last Ferry

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,
leaving inbetween
a gap
just large enough
to frame
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.

As, shuddering,
we tyre-shouldered to the landing stage,
she turned
and kissed him

but she never spoke

- perhaps because she knew I was in earshot.

                                                    Perhaps not.

Ken Cumberlidge

If you have any comments on this poem, Ken Cumberlidge would be pleased to hear from you.