Poems. Hong Kong — ‘On Taking the Star Ferry’
No explanation needed for writing about this wonderful Hong Kong icon!
On Taking the Star Ferry
I wait for the bell at the jetty’s end,
The land’s last littoral above the sea;
With me several stand or sit: refugees
From the open city streets, contained now
Within narrow wooden walls, now quiet,
Waiting in hope for the voyage to come.
The bell sounds: gates swing wide; the released crowd
Jostles down the ribbed ramp and steps on board;
Bent beneath the low roof I take my seat.
Engines judder, metal around me thrums,
Thick coiled ropes, unhooked, slip from their bollards,
Splash into the sea and are hauled on board.
Land recedes; we are out on still water,
Grey water, dotted with the darker shapes
Of tugs and barges diminishing to specks
Against the pale mass of Lantau’s mountains
In the distance. Grey-green water extends
And merges with grey sky. Across this expanse
Our throbbing ship freighted with living souls
Voyages, churning still water to white.
The far side nears; through the narrow lagoon
Bounded by two arms of reclamation,
The ferry forges. The passengers rise,
Then stagger at the engine’s sudden shift.
The waters boil, the jetty creaks, ropes strain
As the ferry eases against the pier.
The gangplank down, the passengers step off
Into the bustle of the living world.
On taking the Star Ferry
Copyright © Matthew Harrison, 2009
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