Bless the sea and all that’s in
but bring me home to kith and kin
This mosaic compass rose is to be found at the lower entrance to Mules Park as you walk up the cliff path.
It bears the above rhyming couplet. Is this poetry? I think so. There are many views on what is actually meant by poetry but if you believe, as I do, that one of the features of poetry is to capture the essence of something in a few meaningful words then this couplet satisfies that criterion.
Teignmouth has a long sea-faring tradition, recorded as far back as the thirteenth century. Making a living from the sea was, and still is, a tough occupation with high risk and much heartbreak. The sea provided but the sea could also be a demanding master, taking lives at will.
The couplet reflects Teignmouth’s sea-faring tradition and encapsulates feeling of the prayers and fears of those, and their families, who risked their lives to provide. A homily that is as true now as it was seven hundred years ago.
The reverence for the sea is observed annually in Teignmouth at the ‘Blessing of the Boats’ ceremony held at the New Quay
Want to know more? Look at ‘Sea-faring tradition‘ on this site
UPDATE August 2019: The mosaic has been replaced. See new story here