The Ship of Endurance

Alan Brownjohn read this poem at the poetry reading event to raise funds for the Marie Curie Hospice in Hampstead in October at the PHCC. This comes from his book A Bottle & Other Poems published by Enitharmon Press, 2015.

The Ship of Endurance

Some opt for the Terrace, the sunshine, the breeze,
And divide between tourists – letting in the draught
By taking their time to saunter through the glass doors –
And locals, who go out quickly. The tourists ignore altogether
The people preferring to sit at the tables inside,
And deliver the cafe a hurricane – single
Pages from broadsheet papers – notes on lectures – credit slips
With precious landline numbers that took months
To extract from their owners – inspirations
That just had to be written down – there they go,
Chasing over the just-swept floor, people’s whole days
Lost in fury and despair…Therefore I thank
The tall mindful local woman who when
She went out herself only opened the Terrace door
At the most acute angle enabling her to escape
– And before that had gathered up all my flying poems
In her hand to return them to me.
I dream up awards
For the – strictly speaking unrequited – courtesies
That make up the threads which hold the Ship of Endurance
Together. But all I can do for the moment
Is thank you, sincerely, Karin Johannesdottir,
Even though your business card speaks about `IT’.

Akureyri, 2012. Alan Brownjohn –
Reprinted by permission of the author


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