Poetry and Pictures from Tyneside by Alan Hartley

tyne poetry headerPhotograph ©Carol Haynes.


ghost shipIllustration by Michael HartleyWhen first I breathed the blown salt spray,
My boyhood sailed across the bay
To where ships in the offing lay.
I fell in love.

I felt the shingle neath my feet,
Ran in the surf's white-foaming sheet
And thrilled to hear her hiss retreat.
I met my love.

I longed to be in timeless space
Where clouds merge with her tranquil face,
And heard her call me to embrace
My one true love.

When I was old enough to sail,
I took ship on an endless trail
To find my dream, to win the grail,
A hope to love.

But when I'd sailed my seventh sea
And found she still eluded me,
I knew that she would always be
A dream to love.

I've seen her drifting grey, green, blue;
Watched dawn's streaked scarlet breaking through
And gentle rose of evening hue:
The lights I love.

I've heard the mewing seagulls' cries,
The warm southeaster's gentle sighs,
The flap of sail when fresh winds rise:
The sounds I love.

I've felt spray flying from wave crests
When oars dip deep and our bow breasts
The rising swell, then falls to rest:
The thrills I love.

I've found true peace on windless days,
Beneath the blanket calm she lays
To lure me with her siren ways:
The peace I love.

I've known the terror of her storm,
The pride of sailing out alone,
The wanderer's joy returning home:
The home I love.

But I'll not linger long ashore,
I'll sail in search of dreams once more
And find the life I've found before:
The life I love.