In Memoriam

We come up-to-date with a recent piece of verse by Tacy Rickard, but its roots are in history.  It recalls the death of four young girls on the Teignmouth Barr in 1734.  The sandbars around the mouth of the Teign estuary have always been treacherous, as this story testifies, though today we have the National Coastwatch and the Royal National Lifeboat Institute to help if people get into trouble.  The four young girls had no-one in 1734.

In Memoriam

Tacy Rickard, March 2014

“Elizabeth Vicary Mary Potter Mary Vicary Mary Brewer
all four drowned upon the Barr June 19th 1734”
An inked entry in the burial register,
Stark epitaph among the simple list of ageless faceless names

In the curate’s hand, knowing the fullness of the families’ grief,
on the third day, standing by the graves.
That hand had cupped their heads with water,
water of life, water of death.
Secret hopes and passions doused
Did some young men sigh and quietly quench their dreams?

Three known to each other from birth
On the edge of womanhood
A younger child in tow.

Did their mothers warn them to take care?
Ask Liz to take Mary from under her feet?
And gather shellfish from the shore?

The waiting pot bubbles on the hearth;
The wind changes, river thrusting through, breaking the waves,
The bar shifts, tossing the harvest into the tide

“Elizabeth Vicary Mary Potter Mary Vicary Mary Brewer
all four drowned upon the Barr June 19th 1734”

Want to know more?  Checkout:  Four Young Girls

 

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