Tuesday Poem: The Shipwright's Love Song - Jo Bell

Oh, but the lines of her!
The curve and glinting swell –
the smell, as sweet as pitch pine,
thick and hot as tar.
Oh, I was launched and splashing in the slipway,
happy to be rudderless
and yawing, mast head
touching to the foam.

Oh, but her skin was salt,
was starred with gasping salt beneath my tongue,
and slowly
she came round to me –
bucking and slipping at my touch,
making way in fits and starts
to reach me and be calm.

Later, long before she rocked me into sleep
I saw the seas, saw all of them in one blue ache:
unlandmarked, vast; horizonless.

© Jo Bell 2003
from Navigation, published by Moormaid Press
Listen to Jo reading the poem on YouTube here.

Jo Bell was born in Sheffield and grew up on the edge of the Peak District.  She became an industrial archaeologist before being seduced by boats.  Narrow boats.  She now lives on a narrow boat and is Britain's Canal Laureate.  Jo has won several major poetry prizes.  Navigation was her first collection, and her second - Kith - has just been published by Nine Arches Press.  Listen to Jo read some of the poems from the collection on Sound Cloud. 

She blogs at The Belljar

The Tuesday Poets are an international group who try to post a new poem every Tuesday and take turns to edit the main hub.  Today it's my turn to be editor and I've chosen the poem 'Taken' from Jo's new collection Kith.   Click on this link to take a look.


  1. Wonderful poetry. I loved today's Hub feature, "Taken" as well.


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