Grey as the ash from once fierce-kindling fires,
Grey as the bones from ancient Viking pyres.
Grey as the twilight of all man’s desires,
The harbour lies asleep.
There was a time when industry was rife
About these mouldering quays, and pulsing life
Flooded and filled with pageantry and strife
This court of Norman Keep.
Now, when the sounds of pomp have died away,
And ghosts of kings brood on their realm’s decay,
Only the tides as then their homage pay,
Bringing rare cargoes in.
They fill with dancing light the ancient port,
Covering the weed and waste, and making sport
With long-dead hulks that, for a period short
Feel voyages begin.
Then the Apostles’ Bridge, which sternly strides
The upper reach, is conquered by the tides:
And freed as once caged-bird a spirit rides
Abroad, as in old days.
But brief as the assumed power of one who reigns
In his chief’s absence, out the life-blood drains.
Only the dusty memory remains,
And echoes of faint praise !
Mona’s Herald 21.11.62