Cicely Fox Smith
Blue Anchor Lane - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith
If, tired of to-day, for some corner you sigh
That Change has forgotten and Progress passed by,
From the road that leads dock-wards, its bustle and hurry,
Its clanging and banging of tramcar and lorry,
By a junk-store and then by a chip-shop turn down,
Keep on past the 'Dolphin' - or is it the 'Crown'? -
And it may be you'll find (if indeed it remain)
The place that I think of as Blue Anchor Lane.
There's a row of old houses where sailor-folk dwell,
With here a ship model and there a pink shell;
There's a crazy old pub that was kept long ago
By some peg-legged old salt that had sailed with Benbow;
And the barges go by with their brown sails a-flapping,
And on the worn stairs comes the high tide lap-lapping,
And, grey days and blue days, in sunshine or rain,
Time lies there at anchor off Blue Anchor Lane.
But just where to find it - ah, that I can't tell!
I have lost the road to it, its right name as well,
And I cannot remember them, try as I may,
Through Dockyard's mean streets though I ramble all day,
By chip-shops unnumbered turn hopefully down,
Pass whole schools of 'Dolphins' and 'Crown' after 'Crown,'
And, footsore and weary, still search for in vain
The turning that took me to Blue Anchor Lane.
And it may be the tide that, resistless and strong,
Sweeps empires like straws on its current along
Has swept, like Assyria and Ur in their day,
Its quaintness and queerness for ever away,
Its sailormen's homes with their pink tropic shells,
Its slanty old pub and its waterside smells,
And only the gulls and the river remain
Where the Past used to linger in Blue Anchor Lane.
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