The First Canal Boat in Space
Like a lolly stick balanced on the Ariane,
we clung to the sink, clutching the Davy lamp,
waiting to be flipped to the heavens.
During powered ascent, we stowed the pot plants
and lashed our bicycles to the taff-rail.
On a slow boat to Pluto, we dreamt of cowslip,
heather and The Black Lion at Froghall.
Safely in orbit we stayed below decks,
sipping tea and singing space shanties.
We survived on air trapped in the bilge.
A coil of wet rope on the prow,
we bumped through the cosmos, drifting
through wormholes, navigating each
like a series of locks. The stars were like
phosphorescence in the water.
Rudderless, we woke to find our tiller
floating above the deck. We retrieved a chart
from the monkey box and found a safe berth
on Phobos, the small moon of Mars,
our boat-hook finding purchase in a crater.
Losing power at Neptune, we traced
the problem to a blockage in the remote greaser,
flicking open the quick release weed hatch.
Now leaking oil we prepared for re-entry,
securing the saucepans and Toby Jugs.
Parachute deployed, we splashed down in the marina
at Great Haywood, sending shockwaves
down the Trent and Mersey. On the rescue boat,
there was loose talk of ticker tape parades,
and the front cover of Canal Boat Monthly.