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19 May 2023



New Moon


Jun 4th

Living on the Edge

May 5th

After Christopher Wood’s painting

‘Ship Inn’, Mousehole

                        Blocks of hand-blown stone

                        cried-and-hewn to hear the spume

                        of a gale tell the tale of its death.

                        Of the men who trod their plod before

                        on this bricked wall, ready to trawl

                        in quiet or squall, we know not beyond

                        their orphaned hounds who beg

                        for a keg of ale – they never heard

                        the strain of sail, the trail of a soul

                        fall fowl of waves. Trees on the hill

                        spill shadows thrilled to play

                        where harrows till the land and stand

                        proud that their bare branches have a place

                        in the grace of the artists’ eye even if,

                        like me, they’re at the periphery of things.

Behind the poem...

The Penwith Peninsula in Cornwall, of which Mousehole and its harbour are a part, has a special place in my heart because of a stay in a cottage there following a difficult time for me. That cottage is just about in view in Christopher Wood’s painting ‘Ship Inn’, Mousehole, which captures the village’s intimacy and reminds me of its harbour’s mesmerising walls. Those walls are one reason among many why I think of this area as a ‘place apart’ – somewhere I’ll forever associate with feelings of self-dependency.

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