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British Seaports

By: Paul Bebbington

About The Poem

I was inspired to write about the Sea-ports I have visited, as part of my job. I worked in the old HM Customs & Excise department of the government, and saw the freighters landing cargo and other activities – particularly at Tilbury Dock, on the River Thames. I have journeyed around the British Isles quite a bit, and gained insight into other port towns – some memories of which I’ve put into this poem.

The Poem

I’ve visited seaports all around these isles
The various places have sometimes raised smiles
From harbour to pier , to life-boat station
Such places have brought joy , to many a vacation.

I’ve visited Cromer – and fished for fresh crabs
Seen the sail lofts at Hastings- where boats store the dabs
I once crossed the water from Southampton dock
And one day plan a trip to climb famed Plymouth Rock!

The small port of Whitby was a real delight
Its fried fish and smokeys had taste and real bite
But much further north at Fraserburgh I ate
The freshest Scottish haddock ever put on my plate!

When a very small boy with my parents in Devon
I went on a boat trip that sounded pure heaven
Tourist trips from Brixham – for mackerel the treat
In return a free dinner – all the fish you could eat!

On my travels around our famed watery realm
I’ve not yet been a captain or stood on the helm
But travelling from Dover I ‘ve waved from a ferry
Singing of White Cliffs , all my shipmates were merry.

Each port of ol’ Blighty is full of past tales
And just as historical are those seaports in Wales
Like huge Pembroke Dock with its cargo and stores
Or Tenby ‘- with smacks, that fish off nearby shores.

Then there are giant ports like the famed Felixstowe
Where winds from the North Sea make cheeks all a-glow
It’s container ships carry freight from the East
Or are importing fruit, like bananas via Geest.

Yes our ports can tell tales, like in Bristol of slaves
Who passed through from Africa.. many to their graves
Or of steam-boats with many expat soldiers on board
Returning to Tilbury after fighting abroad.

And I have worked there, seen first hand the dry dock
The iron and steel monsters a passing the lock
And for a brief while witnessed life by a river
Yes ol’ Father Thames was for me a life giver.

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