Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Ship Inn

Painted white and opposite the harbour wall sits The Ship Inn. The sort of place you’ve been before, heaving in summer and - of an evening - packed out the door. Where tables remain first come first serve. Where always on the menu, you’ll find fish.

Where lanterns hang from beams and stone walls are a gallery of memorabilia to the sea. Where holiday makers drink wine and talk of relocating to the beach. Where wood is scored and floorboards worn under feet. Where each Friday night, live music carries the length of the street.

Where out of season mostly locals frequent, from the houses on the cliff and the cottages to rent. Where coat stands drip with jackets caught in hail.

Where - those who know it - say that Jack comes with the rain...


They say he wakes,
batters narrow painted door and rattles window pane,
whips up water, raises chill and blows in draught again.

They say he walks,
dripping wet cross wooden boards,
bound for bar and pint of ale, companion long forgot.

Boxed and slated freshest catch for kitchen hand to gut.

And murmurs out of sight,
trick of light to catch the eye,
big and bulky shadow sat in window bay to right.

Choppy water, lost at sea,
story handed down the years,
woollen bunnet, leather boots and cod and chips for tea.

Jack they say can listen in to every word you speak.

Can taste the fish,
mushy peas and salted chips,
glass of wine or thirsty pint to wet your wind cracked lips.

Warmest welcome, fire on,
cosy nook from wild storm,
laminated menu propped on varnished table top.

Sudden hush and sudden still,
under crowd and over din,
hold your breath and wait for sense of sea or something else...

Jack they say can tap a foot and whistle shanty verse.

The Ship Inn features in my little book - A Familiar Voice

It was also published by Word Bohemia in their beautiful illustrated journal on winter.

Prose for Thought


  1. Wow, great poem. You paint brilliant pictures with your words.

  2. Love it in the book and love it again here :)

  3. Agree with Stephanie! and also really fancy fish & chips now ;-)

  4. You do indeed paint wonderful pictures with your words. I feel like I know the place-beautiful.

  5. I love this in your book!!!! X

  6. Wonderful! And I really want to be in that inn eating fish and chips now... I can almost taste them!

  7. Love this! All your poems are so evocative you can smell the salt air!


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