New Times,
New Thinking.

  1. Culture
  2. Poetry
27 May 2020

The ship aground

A new poem from Erica Wagner.

By Erica Wagner

We have come over Tower Bridge over 
the river’s silver over
basculed stone, steel and we have
curved, curled toward St Saviour’s Dock,
where monks walked, where Sikes fell,
where now the narrow streets are silent
in sunlight in high blue where
old poverty meets new money where I am
newly free on two wheels new swift
curling, curving over cobble and tarmac
past the brick-built pub just up 
from the water’s edge.

The ship aground:
mullioned windows, darkened glass, St George’s
flag still pinned by the pitch
of the red-tiled roof, the ship aground
cast up here on this shore
of spring breeze and birdsong, anchored
in shadow, the ship aground in lockdown,
beerless beacon of better days, hithe
as haven, holding all still till the tide turns and
we pilgrims balanced at the water’s edge can 
unfurl our sails, can set out for what we will call
the new world.

Erica Wagner’s books include a collection of short stories, Gravity (Granta), and a novel, Seizure (Faber and Faber)

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Content from our partners
An innovative approach to regional equity
ADHD in the criminal justice system: a case for change – with Takeda
The power of place in tackling climate change

This article appears in the 27 May 2020 issue of the New Statesman, The peak