My sea boots are ten years old today!
Now, this is a really strange post I grant, but I feel a terrible sadness at the idea that they will soon be condemned to the deep… Yes, I shall sink them with some rusty, old anchor chain when I finally sail from Borka, into the deep Baltic.
I decided to write a poem in the form of a eulogy.
Eulogy for sea-boots
From Djibouti to Lapland you have carried me…
In winter’s Eastern Mediterranean and Suez Canal, down exotic Red Sea, kissing volcanoes and coral reefs… Egypt, Sudan and Eritrea, places from school atlases brought alive.
The Aegean, with its bad-tempered Meltemis that slash down from Asia Minor, turning the placid summer sea into a raging monster… You were there.
Feckless Ionian so tempting and yet ruthless with fools, to the tricky Straits of Messina, brooding whirlpools that thwarted Odysseus.The moody Tyrrhenian with its Italian lee-shore and rocky island paradises, Procida, Capri, Ponza – names from legends… nowhere to run.
You were there too.
The howling Bonifacio Strait, where gales rage betwixt Corsica and Sardinia then northwards through the Ligurian Sea and the sly Gulf of Genova, brooding under mountain storms. And all the while there under my feet.
Even when I slept standing up…
Through endless rivers and canals, from Marseilles to Dunkirk, from London to Abingdon, into the heart of Albion. Even on bicycle through sloshing winter rain into Walton on Thames,
to sit with housewives and new friends…
in trendy cafes.
Surreptitiously placing under coffee table so as not to offend…
To the East Anglian Coast and the Netherlands with her waterways and huge skies, stomping Amsterdam, through freezing snow-filled streets, beside fragrant cafes that have no coffee.
Romancing Helgoland and the Elbe, oil-soaked from damaged gearbox, and yet true, never slipping, never feeling the wet of a sea coming on board.
And onward, Kiel Canal and the mighty Baltic with her angry steep waves and endless rocky shoals, where the Vikings left and plundered south. Miles of tiny anchorages, littered among the islands, rarely a craft to be seen.
Those are the places, we’ve been…