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Blaise Moritz – THE PORT OF LONDON

Video by Blaise Moritz



Ocean going, diesel powered,
containerized and automated,
ships land at deep watered,
down river Tilbury.

The Port of London now
far removed from the City,
invisible to those whose goods it processes,
forever rolling on, rolling off,
deafening noise turned to silence—

protective headphones cancel everything
for the scant staff atomized about the yard:
ten stories up, a toy operator
in the crane’s control booth;
far below, the progress of an ant
whose shift has ended toward the car park.

No need for the morning call,
for crowds at the gates.
Heyday of the man-sized parcel
when all was muscle,
no one word for what was handled:
cask, crate, bail, bundle
spool, jug, barrel, sack.
And the uncontainable:
double-decker buses bound for Ceylon,
an elephant imported for the Zoo.


Poet Blaise Moritz

Blaise Moritz is the authour of Zeppelin (Nightwood Editions, 2013) and Crown and Ribs (Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 2007). His current projects include a multi-genre book on themes of urban and labour history that draws much of its inspiration from his long interest in London’s East End. blaisemoritz.com features recorded readings and commentaries. Blaise lives in Toronto.


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