8. CW’s poem to AL

May 7, 2018

The Yellow AA Shanty for Franklin, by Chris Walsh

If I were a performance artist

(or just had some time)

I would buy a yellow Ford Cortina

And drive it up to the far north of Scotland

Wearing yellow jeans,

Yellow T

And a yellow bobble hat.


On a headland

I’d pop the bonnet

(hood, Yanks)

And tinker until the Cortina no longer started


I’d walk two miles

To a phone box.

First I’d call Alcoholics Anonymous

To see if they could fix it.

Then I’d call the Automobile Association,

Join on the spot,

get them out.


The AA would arrive orange lights flashing

on a bright yellow truck.

The sun would be setting deep orange

The AA guy would be wearing dayglo yellow.


Then I’d pull my knife.


I’d order the AA man to make up

a sea shanty

about Sir John Franklin

and his lost men

On the spot.


Knife to his dayglo breast

We’d rehearse.

Then I’d count us in

And we’d bellow the shanty

Dressed in yellow

With our yellow steeds

And blood orange sun

across the blue sea

all the way to the white North West Passage.