The Ballad of Dollar Bay

As promised, here are some images to accompany the next poem to be posted.  The old boat returning to nature is known locally as the Saltmills boat, her last voyage was to that stretch of the Wexford coast and now she slowly becomes part of the shingle, eventually to be some flotsam and jetsam, perhaps a few rusted bolts and nails among storm tossed seaweed, bleaching in the summer sun. I’ve been watching her slow decay for many years now. Leaning on the parapet of an old bridge, hundreds of years old, while musing upon the shifting sands of an estuary can be soothing, meditation in it’s way.

The rigging you can see is part of the mainmast of a Famine -era sailing ship, “The Dunbrody”, moored in New Ross.  The poem I will be uploading to accompany these pictures is about a ship from that era, “The Earl of Sandwich.” There is, to my eye, something stirring about the majestic sailing ships. It is to be heard in the lovely poem “Sea Fever” by John Masefield.

“I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.

And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;

And the wheels kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking

And  agree mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.”


More to follow!!!

Duncannon Beach, evening time

Duncannon Beach, evening time

The light by the last wave lingers on fronds

of seaweed fingering wave-wet rocks where

brim-filled pools overflow before they

empty when the water surges then sucks,

surges, then sucks. Small anemones first

finger gently, then kiss hungrily as

they sluice down passing plankton too fine for

my eyes, which greedily feast on the sands

glistening, sunwarmed, lit by the last

light of day while slow footsteps meander

with the gentle waves rhythms, rising, falling,

so calming in my ears, that crest falling

with an almost silent swish, hearbeat’s grace,

footfall pace, soothing place. Salt scented air

embraces me, wrapping me, comforting me.

All troubles tumbled away calmed first,

washed by light where the last wave lingers.

The Tholsel, Kilkenny

Meditation on a view of the The Tholsel, Kilkenny

A villanelle inspired by the painting of Paul Henry, RHA

Firstly, let us consider the chosen point of view.

Rejecting the familiar the artists searching gaze led

him to the little known garden where poplars grew.

There he lingered a long while in the breeze,

eyes lifted up from the river’s leafy bank,

working in the cool shade of shimmering trees,

looking over high stone walls, none new,

all old, all grey, stone on stone leading upwards

where, framed by white clouds, by sky of soft blue

an octagonal tower sheathed in copper leaves

presents four clock faces to the people,

chiming out the hours in pleasant peals.

The visiting artist caught our familiar anew,

carrying his canvas down Horseleap Lane, long

vanished now, forgotten, remembered only by the few.

So my familiar seems exotic to you

as my exotic is your familiar too.

So your story helps me see and feel

that to others, my own is also real.

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