This is my captain, and this is how I see him.

This is my captain, and this is how I see him.

Tall. Traditional silhouette. Barrel-chested with tankard-ears, the crows took his hair long ago.

Wisht lads. Filling the room with a bar-room thunder of the Lambton Worm, swaying everyone through will. Cowing all in a stony, physical silence when the mood takes, as it often would.

Power grown from a lifetime at sea; a life of ports and cigarette cards, matchstick ships and ambassadors. The blue star flying on the red flag. Foreign at home, the rocking anchor sleeps with a two-finger measure and black cat sharing space on the stock.

Leaving with a crushing handshake – even to a child – as he slips out to sea, or to meet the other men with their briefcase, square and compass. Is that where you keep your drink?

This is my captain, and this is how I don’t want to see him.

No longer proud of the spare room in his waist band. Smaller now, quietened by a large day; winded and thin.

Away to sea.