Q. Is it possible to be fashionably late for National Poetry Day?

A. Yes if you arrive by narrowboat.

Canal travel is notoriously slow, (about 4 mph at max) and that is my excuse for contributing to National Poetry Day a few hours after the day itself has ended. After all, poetry should be for life, not just for one day and Twitter is still talking about it anyway.

In case you too have missed it, National Poetry Day was on 8th October, and the theme this year was Light. It included a one day event at the Southbank Centre, London, plus many other live events and web-based activities for people around the UK.

Did you know that the waterways have a canal laureate: Jo Bell, appointed by the Poetry Society and Canal and River Trust? Canals inspire Jo and many other poets to write. When I bought my very first narrowboat in 2000 I was inspired to write this;

Pump My Bilge

Pump my bilge and cover my cratch

Sweep my scuppers and check my weed hatch

My prop shaft turns and my drive plate’s shaking

My fly wheel flies with the noise it’s making.

Easy now, just take it easy

You’ve made my stern gland moist and greasy

I think you’ll find on close inspection

We’ve got some kind of electric connection.

You’re a little rough on my rubbing strakes

At narrow bridges when you take

The corners at a crazy speed

Four miles an hour! There is no need.

But when I was moored up, you came and untied me

When I was unwanted, you had money to buy me

So now I’m back on the cut, with nothing to lose

My name is Emily Rose, and I’m licenced to cruise.

Peggy Melmoth © 2000

If you're ready to buy your first boat you may like our free e-Book How to Buy a Boat: The Ultimate Guide. It's very good, but there are no poems in it.

Have you written any watery, nautical poetry? Don't be shy, share a line with us on Facebook or Twitter :-)


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