Rowing History


Watermen were
abundant and in demand
when Old London Bridge
spanned the Thames,
double-oared and four-oared
taximen who sculled
passengers from the City to Soutwark,
Southwark to the City,
to alleviate the streaming
horde of herds, fishwives,
carriages and drays,
crossing, ever crossing
the narrow enarched world.

Famous Pepys kept his own
sculler busy, ever abroad
as he was.  And the theaters
and taverns crowding Southwark
drew a continual flow
of entertainment seekers
who, late at night, had no other
recourse but to hire a rower
to cross back to the City
once the bridge had closed
at sunset.  At sunrise

the hullabaloo of the bridge
would growl alive, again.
And the watermen would smile.

Philip Kuepper
(9 June 2015)

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