Turn Your Head, Cabin Boy!



A strange tide pulled me, moonlike,

In a tall ship, head to heel.

Past the Hammersmith Flyover

To a southern slaver’s town.


I sailed through service stations

And desperate public art,

To sit atop my painted hill

And feel the wind again.


This morning saw me sitting

In a merchant venturers box

Speaking to a pan-faced girl

Shut inside the open plan.


Dressed in cut-price finery,

My heels itching in new shoes

I lied, and my lies she wrote down,

An assessment of my wanderings.


Each mark against my made-up name

Is a lashing at the mainsail.

A plea for alms, a lame-footed tattoo was

Scored above my spine.


The poniard twists! My mutiny

Subdued by other’s fighting.

I thought I could be a coup de grace

In this slaver’s town.


The captain would not like this,

He would shout into my earpiece.

My weekly stats are thinning rope

Holding up the mess.


The tide will turn, one day soon,

To pull me back to London.

Though different winds shall drag these sheets

Through Reading, Datchet, Slough.

About Benjamin Norris

Published writer of short stories, long stories, poems. Well received art critic and cultural commentator for Berlin magazines. Collaborator with operatic societies. Co-writer of fictional historic psycholinguistic journals. Lecturer of architecture and art history at a Budapest University. View all posts by Benjamin Norris

3 responses to “Turn Your Head, Cabin Boy!

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