Sea Spell


From the high brow of Snaefell one can see
The island like a ship from stem to stern.
There thrusts the stem, the tapered Point of Ayre,
Towards the mainland I can just discern,
Wigtown, Kirkcudbright, and the Solway there;
But never making land, chained by the sea.

Far to the south but hidden by the Mull
Is the isle’s rounded stern, and to it tied
By rope of rock the dinghy of the Calf;
And all along the east and western side
The ever-circling sea, on Mann’s behalf
Watchful and wary, holding it in thrall.

Held by the sea, imprisoned by the waves,
The island is a ship in trancèd sleep;
Aye on the point of sailing, never quite.
All its past crews unseen are buried deep,
Waiting to reach their haven of delight,
For the green hatches to be raised from graves.

15. 7. 28