Mortimer at the Gates

Although Mortimer wished to leave the world behind
He had only the vaguest notion of his ultimate destination

He no longer thought that Socialism had much to offer Humankind
I used to be very Left-wing,’ he would boast, whilst in secret

He thought it had been a big mistake to get rid of the grammar schools)
He himself often bitterly regretted having given up Latin.

He taught in a big comprehensive school in south-east London.
Near the river. He could see the grey line of the river.

Sometimes he ventured out along the old sea-wall at night
Onto the North Kent marshes, looking towards Tilbury Power Station  

With its two huge chimneys, each topped with a red warning light.
They stood like a gateway to the ocean.

Sometimes at Low Tide he’d gather bits of driftwood
To light a fire in the cold wind … unwilling to go home.

Peter Hamilton

If you have any thoughts on this poem, Peter Hamilton  would be pleased to hear them.