In trying to decide on the most suitable length for a poetry collection, attention was diverted by Masefield’s great poem
Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.
Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-
With a cargo of diamonds,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.
Dirty British coaster with a salt-
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Three vessels are carrying cargoes consisting of six items causually related only by the fact that they are cargoes. However in this poem the title is overshadowed by the first word, ‘Quinquireme, which immediately generated the phrase five-
Masefield tells us here that there is truth and there is poetic truth. Both are equally valid, but, as is the case with poetic licence, one is always more valid than the other. This brings us to the first two lines of the poem. No-
In contrast to the trireme, which is well-
The result is that quinquireme suggests a 1,2,2 configuration repeated many times and the name morphs to five-
It only remains to explain that Nineveh morphs to No_never and that No_never poems is a collection of ‘cinque rimes’ marketed in a No_never envelope with a quinquireme motif and that the configuration is 1,2,2 where the lead poem sets the mood of the remaining entries. Most, but not all of the No_never collections are derived from longer Tiplaw Press collections, but some contain work that has not been published elsewhere.