India to Ceylon Blue Funnel, 1950s

White, steaming big neck
Swinging like sail in full
Horns razor sharp Madras cow
Clanking down metal aisle
Of three funnelled merchant ship

Dad, up from hot boilers
His mate behind the beast
Hit it with sticks herd it
Back to its wooden corral
Above the hold.

Heat, more flies than sweat
Dad knew white monster
Was coal blistered face
Nostrils hissing air
Steam screaming water
Through pipes, pistons.

Knew caressing its flank
Every flinch, flick, strain
Yawn of engine below
Only way to get there.

Indian cow sacred,
So are ships boilers 

2 thoughts on “India to Ceylon Blue Funnel, 1950s

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