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The New City


The new city stands where water is the element,

where ship-light burned a hole in fog,

gangways turned to planks of wood-rot.

The new city starts where the old places fell,

the taprooms where shore leave was spent,

the loading dock where stevedores used to heft

coal from the mines of Poland, 

where river-gulls cried out hymns of thanksgiving

for what the river gave them straight from its mouth.

Gone are the lanes that lovers walked

lanes that were the short way home for old wives 

who lived so long they saw

Lord Nelson toppled from his pinnacle. 

Down here it’s the end of the road

where the road’s reborn as evergreen river water

that never stops but moves along like any wanderer. 

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