Albert's Bloody Mersey

They must have left in Spring when

We called down the cobbles and through

The rust hollow lampposts and empty houses.

In the cold we wanted to know, all of us,

When it would begin –

The soft drumbeat through the glare

Gliding and shuddering over

Albert's bloody Mersey.

Whilst the bloom stares into this rock

We will sit in the street with our tins

And our pastries, and dream of higher


Fourteen women passed me near the rubble

All their fingernails worn and bruised with grime

The 19th century hanging from their eyes

The sea breaking on their knees.

I listen to the doom clicking and beating

And it ticks with every bite of the apple

And every clout round the ear.

When they break on the rooftops

Nothing will do for us but a drumbeat

In the cold of Spring.

by Dick Thompson, 2009