Night fishing on the Sunderland

The river
survived the farm slurry
and the dirty old town
now breaking into a run,
its mouth opening
to taste the sea.

Solitary men on the promenade
having foregone the TV and the pub and the missus
wait for a bite.
Stoic faces, shaped by the North and little expectation
they talk occasionally, but not much.
The mighty catches of bygone days long gone
the fish hammered out by industry effluent.

Battered lives on a battered river
They still find grounds for optimism
baiting up in the soft yellow comfort
of the promenade lights.