Ferry cross the Tyne

"I boarded the ferryboat, The Northumbria, with its white-painted rails and lifebelts. Passing the old, hot, oily smell that wafted from the engine-room door, I went on the top deck, and, sitting under the funnel, felt happy to smell again the smoke and grease and fish ands tar and paint and a fresh whiff of briny from the harbour. The sunlight played on the dark entrails of smoke uncoiling from the funnel, and on the white superstructures of the great ships towering above us. The gulls, their feathers translucent against a moving sky of broken clouds, were harshly crying, gently lifting and falling round us like a complicated and giant mobile. The bell rang for departure, and the boat started its cumbersome turning before waltzing sedately across the Tyne."

James Kirkup on returning to South Shields in
Sorrows, Passions and Arrows (1959).

No comments:

Post a Comment