Barry Of The Cut
He lives a life alone on his floating kingdom,
by Francesca Johnson
A Dutch barge of immaculate neatness.
Barry left a life of greed and falsehoods
Many years ago
To start a new life on the Cut.
His old, grizzled and wrinkled face
Resembling Vespasian in all his madness
Belies the gentleness underneath.
The scowl he wears turns into a beam
When our paths meet.
We share coffee and music,
Played expertly on his organ
In an atmosphere of complete peace.
The inlaid mahogany and carved hardwoods
Of the interior
Are lovingly maintained and proudly exhibited
To all who care to share
And appreciate true artistry.
Barry talks of portholes and how they must be the right ones,
And how to tell if they're not,
Of wildlife and water
And the washing away of the banks.
The glass of lemonade he carries around
As if a beloved baby
Contains a shot or two of vodka,
Well hidden in its clarity.
And the cigarette hanging loosely
From his mouth is taken up
Every so often, by his gnarled old hands
To flick and return once more to his lips.
Then he disappears into the bowels of his barge,
Soft lighting emitting from round spaces
Along its length,
Bidding goodnight to the world.