The Unfortunates

A poem film commissioned for the Dark Side, Port Side project. https://vimeo.com/291387222

The Unfortunates

I was one of those –

when I washed up here in Southampton Row –

            seventeen years old.

Though I suppose you could call me

a fortunate one – housed as I am

            under the roof of the gentleman,

Mr Bright – to have a snooze-case for my head,

a flagon of ale to merry the senses.

            How was I to know

I’d be sharing my bed? No-one said.

The one with the North Star tattooed on his chest –

            he was the best.

My mother, harrowed soul, saw a crow

on the cradle the day I was born.

            Betrothed to sorrow, I was – she said.

Nothing to do but turn your face

against these vile sea breezes,

            the drunk Jack Tars, the grizzle-heads.

Tuesday I’ll go out with the girls and Mr Bright

to slaughter our pig in the yard.

            Some days life’s not too hard.

Maggie Sawkins

(for Dark Side, Port Side – poem film and visitor trail project)

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