Evening peace, Cavendish Dock, Barrow by RG Head - Lancashire Poetry
PUBLISHED: 14:03 20 January 2010 | UPDATED: 16:30 20 February 2013
A poem by RG Head
This old se wall is vast, and stays
Implacable to time and tide,
To times and tides and weather wild
In autumn stillness, evening light,
The sea is hushed, is smooth, is still;
A grey glass mirror to the sky,
And not an oar disturbs its peace.
The sky itself is featureless, dove grey,
Except at highest zenith there, above:
A little patch of blue and pink.
And Walneys long dark spread
Lies horizontal, left to right:
An artists brushstroke of dark grey,
Laid flat and uniform and drab:
The shore where Fox, the Quaker
Nearly died for blows and stones
The crass mob rained so long ago,
His blood upon the shingle spilled.
His only thought to give them peace
Those very stones must still be there!
Now quiet in dusk, this nearer shore
In nearer times has often sent
With brass band blare and waving flags
The great ships sliding to their launch
Stern first to the channels high flood tide
Which stirred with slow and waveless swirls:
The startled sea reared up, and churned
Their huge propellers in reverse
As drag chains flung the slipway dust
Sky-high and far the mid-day glare
Far south, a small red cliff of clay
Hides Rampside and its causeway road,
But Piel Isles little huddle stands
Revealed: the castle ruins, and
The inn, its dormer windows bright,
And rowing boats from tides clasp pulled.
Here in the foreground, in the ebb,
A crumbling tower of falling stones,
Mute, grim, and broken, whispering not
The raging storms it has withstood
The lighthouse beams from Morecambe Bay;
A seagull shriek the silence breaks
In the hush of many evenings
Yet to be, this place, these islands
And this sea, O will they still seem
The same, and marvellous to me?