VOYAGERS by Mark Head
From the decks of a ship rise high air tubes
Passing men captive walk around;
Portside to outsight, starsite to homesite
They are looking for nothing to do.
Their eyes the quick seekers of thrills,
To their future lie smudge blue low hills:
But they hear the dull humming, smell heat,
Disturbed and uncertain, retreat.
They are near the vents of a captivate city
That sighs and swell belches in heat
The fumes of old air reeks of metal and sweat
And enfoutus’d old rheum eyed sleep.
Some guard the hours for the city
Some cleans her flanks or her floors
Some control the beat of her heart
And others act like her whores.
But common to all is the counting of time
And measured in hours of four
While year after year the same course is set
And youth starts to open its pores.
Now the new dawning maiden swings golden hued arms
Her bosom the fresh wake from deep
But the pulse of the city throbs uncaring years
And I count them all day in my sleep