The Parson and The Clerk

Charles Causley

Charles Causley

Today’s blog introduces another poet with links to Teignmouth – Charles Causley – who died in 2003.  He wrote a number of poems related to Teignmouth which will feature in future blogs.  I have chosen this one, ‘The Parson and the Clerk’ (not his most well-known), because of its most recent association.  Several years ago it was set to music by David Haines and was performed this year by the South Devon Singers in their concert ‘By The Wild Sea Wall’ during Teignmouth’s Classic Music Festival.  The theme of the poem also echoes an earlier posting here. If you want to know more, follow the links at the end of the poem.

The Parson and the Clerk

(Charles Causley)

The Clerk stands in the ocean,
The Parson on the land,
From top to toe to fingertips
Red as the Devon sand

The people of Teignmouth say
(And they say it at Shaldon, too)
That the Parson and the Clerk
Are sandstone through and through,

And the story of how they came home
Rather more drunk than dry
From a night with the Bishop of Exeter
Is nothing more than a lie

And there never was a storm
As they drove beside the bay
That washed the horses to Babbacombe
And the Parson and Clerk away

Though when the morning came
Along the salted shore
There stood two pillars of stone
That never stood there before

And often some folk say,
If you stand quite still and hark,
The Parson is taking a service
With responses from the Clerk

But only the Parson and Clerk
Know the truth of the tale
And gently both of them wink an eye
As they stand on the sand and the shale

Says the Parson to the Clerk,
`Perhaps it is just as well
For the sake of their peace of mind
That they think we are stone and shell

`And whether the day is bright
Or the night is wild and dark
Shall we let them believe it is so?`
`Amen`, says the Clerk


Want to know more?  Checkout the following links:

Charles Causley
Charles Causley in Song
The Parson and Clerk

Related verse:The Smugglers Song


2 thoughts on “The Parson and The Clerk

  1. Pingback: The Parson and Clerk | Teignmouth in Verse

  2. Pingback: Teignmouth and Shaldon | Teignmouth in Verse

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