Foot ferry to Hotwells
Written by David C Johnson
©June 2012

No matter how far the journey
The anticipation builds when its end is in sight
Coastal tramps laden with timber slip
Gratefully beside some remote stone quay
The Matthew returning from New Found Land
Preserved steam-boats berthed
At the museum’s wharf – home - at last - for ever
House boats afloat on the tidal scum
That oozes through the new lock gates
And this foot ferry shuttling between
The woof and the warp of Bristol’s dockland
Weaving a yarn betwixt Hotwells
With its new waterside dwellings
And Isambard’s iron ship
Now frozen in glassy aspic
But which once lay corroding
On Malvinas rocks
Symbol of an over-stretched empire.
This foot ferry’s cargo is, as precious
As Masefield’s diamonds and pig-lead,
- Ruby-cheeked lovers and after-shaved youths,
Experts on Brunel and bored day-trippers,
End-of-day workers and tired Sunday joggers

No whale has ever surfaced
To rock this steady flat-bottomed boat
As it cuts through image-filled ripples
Sending the city’s Technicolor reflection
Into a montage of coruscating pixels.
This craft is confident of success.
Its Perkins diesel and blunt prow
Completes thousands of people’s journeys,
Through rain and wind, sun and skinning ice.
No sick bags needed,
There is no end in sight
For its perpetual voyage.