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Three Cranes in a Dock

At dawn the tide throws its hush
over the sandy shoulders of the harbour,
drains the slope of shells,
dropping dregs for the gulls to inspect.
In the dock, by a stack of crates,
three cranes bow their girdered necks east
as if in prayer. They have been folded all night,
a nest of dinosaurs awaiting the extinction
of their vital urge. The fuel fattens in their tubes,
their batteries corrode and their skins tatter
in the cluttered yard. Under a vinyl lean-to a clutch of white hardhats
might hatch their legs in the lengthening day. The cranes are wired
for wakefulness, for the sudden surge into sky —
the hydraulic heave of unrelenting unquestioned purpose.
Everything is organised through a ritual of gravity and cable.
They are devoted to the lever
and hopeful, having heard the bang of the perimeter fence,
the clang of its chain, and a kettle being boiled in the hut.

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