The last few posts have been about specific events or aspects of Teignmouth. Today is about ‘impression’. What does Teignmouth mean to different people? What is the image the town, its history, its aura, its essence conveys? Charles Causley wrote about a poem about Teignmouth which will feature in a future blog. We have already had a view from Patrick Wolf. Today another poem by Don Pearson giving a different perspective on the town.
(For Barbara Sealey-Bowers)
Seemingly from nothing,
on my first descent,
the town below was revealed
on an azure wash
of sky and tranquil sea,
framed by water
and warm sunlit hills.
Only later, much later,
did I notice the sea wolves
ravening beneath and above the surface,
fattening amidst sand eels.
Here sits a ragged soldier,
leg lost at Waterloo,
begging from the gentry.
Here also, a bare-legged cockle-woman, once sturdy,
now hunched and hungry herself,
she sells her wares to the boat-builders.
Even now, she awaits her man,
drowned centuries ago
hunting the cod off Newfoundland.
Elsewhere, in all but place,
hardly touching the same earth,
the landowner and his lady
parade the beach
and their wealth.
A chill mist rises,
Reabsorbing the wraiths
into the water and the earth.
Their clamour for recognition
And for discrimination dies away,
Leaving only traces of themselves
in their worn and helpless progeny.
And the salt stays dissolved in the water
While the foam’s borne away by the winds
And the ghosts of the past live forever,
While the mist on the river remains.
Don Pearson 13th July 2013
See also: Teignmouth by Patrick Wolf