Castletown Harbour


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