ANDREW MAYNE POETRY
The first and the last poem from the collection Always Our Likely Finale.
ALWAYS OUR LIKELY FINALE
Inked ribbon – a slash of silver winked
beneath the arch-browed brick…
I pulled over, quick – just past the bridge.
Next Sunday, set out from where I’d left off – another voyage
down that towpath: about six miles – after calling a halt and tracking back.
Though you could not get lost, I noted landmarks: a stone cottage by a lock;
an aqueduct; the walking-time between every outpost pub;
discovered plain silence – mounted astride an oak scrub
under drizzle by an empty hen-coop.
Then, after following the cut along a high-banked loop,
surprised twenty minutes later when a tunnel,
spooling in the black one, forced me to surface from an unrecognised angle
on a stretch of suburban road that I could name.
After several Sundays, I’d worked out our likely finale before it came –
fences closing in along the backs of terraces,
past cobbled loading-wharves and shored-up warehouses:
the last leg terminated in a derelict canal basin.
I’d been navigated back to within
a short bus-ride from where I live;
released from the countryside, once more a native,
where, above this oily maze of waterways, railway bridges criss-crossed
long distances – rigged in a rusty blue-grey and iron-latticed.
In fact, the canal’s urban ending – I liked that decaying format best.
But just as I’d got off pat this new topography, a quest
felt ended – all behind-the-scenes concealments charted, or mentally, at least,
connected up. I went home finally to consult a map.
Since when – by me – the canal’s not been visited. Never made another trip.