Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Hole Man

Hiking on an Empty Stomach by Malcolm Curley

Hiking on an Empty Stomach by Malcolm Curley

Returning to the present day the Teignmouth TRAIL is once again in place – the annual display of recycled art which runs along the seafront and this year also extends up to the Homeyard Botanical Gardens in Shaldon.

Poetry has marked the TRAIL in previous years (see Haiku Serenade and the Renga) but this year a separate poetry site has also been set up for poems about the various sculptures.

Meanwhile here’s a piece about one of the really intriguing sculptures called “Hiking on an Empty Stomach” by Malcolm Curley.  The poem is simply called “The Hole Man”.

The Hole Man
(Keats’ Ghost)

I once met a man,
a man with a hole,
a hole in the place where his stomach should be.

The whole man marched,
he marched with a pole,
a pole to embrace his entirety.

Does the man have a heart?
Does the heart have a soul?
Is the soul in the space through which you can see?

He is recycled art
and this art has a role,
a role to persuade you to think differently.

Man, hole,
hole, pole,
heart, soul,
art, role …..
all on the TRAIL at Teignmouth by sea.

Want to see more?  Check out:

Teignmouth TRAIL 2015…..
TRAIL Poetry 2015 …..

The Mercury

Written May 16th 1830, the thirtieth anniversary of Samuel Codner's preservation from shipwreck, on board the ship Mercury

Written May 16th 1830, the thirtieth anniversary of Samuel Codner’s preservation from shipwreck, on board the ship Mercury

We’ve had a sailor who didn’t make it home, the revelries of those Newfoundland fishermen who did make it back home and, today, a post about someone who almost lost his life but survived the crossing from Newfoundland and went on to do great philanthropic deeds over there. He was Samuel Codner.

The poem commemorates the 30th anniversary of his survival following the capsizing of the Mercury on its journey back from Newfoundland to Teignmouth. The commemoration is actually in the form of a print of a Thomas Luny picture with the poem combined within the frame. A copy can be seen at the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

For more information follow the link at the end of the poem. It’s not clear but I am assuming that the poem was actually written by Samuel Codner to give thanks for his survival.

It has no title so I’ve simply called it “The Mercury”.

The Mercury
(Samuel Codner)

O Lord! This day recalls to mind
Thy mercy and thy power
Which drove the Ship before the wind
In an eventful hour

She drifts and then the hull is brine
No sail assists her course
She mounts the waves and tempest-torn
For hours resists its force.

Sudden she slips and prostrate lies,
The masts concealed from view.
The Seaman’s skill the storm defies
While cling the trembling crew.

The Bowsprit goes, the Foremast then
Next Mizzenmast is broke
Maintopmast severed, Oh what pen
Can tell each thundering stroke.

All hope is fled, each wave that rolls
Seems fraught with instant death
But He whose power the sea controls
Preserves their fainting breath

The Lord appeared in danger’s hour
The Mainmast sudden broke
The ship then righted by His power
Withholding deaths fell stroke.

Lord of the waves our hearts inspire
With praise for mercies given!
A soul then saved from vengeance dire
Thou didst design for Heaven.

That soul thus rescued from the wave
Christ’s tender mercy sought
This Servant preached His will to save
The truth with power was fraught.

The heart was drawn to feel the word
That grace was freely given.
Rebellion’s arm threw down the sword,
Love ope’d the gates of Heaven

The faith and hope which then were gained,
Twice twenty years have hied,
And peace and joy through grace attained,
Assured the Lord will guide.

Want to know more?  Check out:

Samuel Codner …..

Note:  The painting title says:

Written May 16th, The Thirtieth Anniversary of Samuel Codner’s Preservation from Shipwreck on Board the Ship Mercury Lat: 49° 30’ N., Lon: 13° W. The Ship turned on her beam ends at 7.15PM and remained in that situation twenty five minutes.

For me there is some confusion about the year.  I have found a reference suggesting “She was sailing from St. John’s, the provincial capital of Newfoundland, Canada, to England in 1822 when the disaster occurred.” which doesn’t correspond with the 30th anniversary.  More research needed I think!

Coming Back Home

Fishing for Cod off Newfoundland

Fishing for Cod off Newfoundland

The last post was about the poignant story of Donald Crowhurst, a sailor who left Teignmouth in 1968 on the Round the World race never to return home.

Today’s post is a song by Bob Freshwater of the Back Beach Boyz about Teignmouth’s cod fishermen of the 19th century who did return home.

After fishing for cod in the North Atlantic off Newfoundland for many months in the 1850s the crew are thinking about coming home to Teignmouth and having a tankard or two of ale to rinse away the salt ….. maybe more than a couple ….. at some of the pubs on and around the River Beach and Quays.

Coming Back Home
(Bob Freshwater)

What will you have when we’re on dry land?
I’ll have a pint of porter
Why not start in The Bird in the Hand
It’s away from the saltwater.

For better or worse we’ll quench our thirst
With a tun or butt or hogshead
Kilderkin, firkin or pin
Maybe just a pint and see Jack next door
                   (Last Verse) Before we hit the floor

What will you have now we’re home from sea?
I’ll have a pint of Porter
In The Newfoundland Fishery
And drink to the Cod Importer

What will you have to rinse your throat?
I’ll have a pint of Porter
Let’s go down The Ferryboat
And stand in bricks and mortar

What will you have, when your heads in a spin?
I’ll have a pint of Porter
Let’s go down to The Old Quay Inn
Beside the tall transporter

What will you have in the smoke and gloom?
I’ll have a pint of Porter
Let’s go along to The Horse and Groom
The walk is slightly shorter

What will you have when you’ve had the five?
I’ll have a pint of Porter
Let’s go along to the old Beehive
And toast the Captain’s daughter

What will you have; cos I forgot?
I’ll have a pint of porter
Let’s call into the old Pilot
Have you had more than you ought to?

What will you have before we leave?
I’ll have a pint of porter
Then ‘tis time for the Back Beach Weave
Before the final slaughter

Want to know more? Check out:

Old pubs of Teignmouth …..
The Back-Beach Boyz …..
One family’s history of Newfoundland …..

The Teignmouth Electron

'New' Teignmouth Electron moored off Teignmouth Seafront for the filming

‘New’ Teignmouth Electron moored off Teignmouth Seafront for the filming

So there’s been a brief hiatus after that batch of poems associated with Keats.  I thought I’d start again with a topic that totally absorbed the town in early June.

A few weeks ago Teignmouth became centre of the universe as Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz and a film crew descended on the town for a week’s filming for the production of a film about the ill-fated Donald Crowhurst.


Donald Crowhurst and the Teignmouth Electron

Donald Crowhurst and the Teignmouth Electron

It was almost 50 years ago that Donald Crowhurst set sail from Teignmouth in the trimaran ‘Teignmouth Electron’ to take part in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, a solo unbroken yacht race around the world – the first of its kind. That was the last that was seen of Crowhurst. On the 10th of July 1969, his boat was found adrift, unmanned. His body was never recovered.  The wreck of the Teignmouth Electron now lies decaying at Cayman Brac.

“The Teignmouth Electron” is actually a song by Benjamin Akira Tallamy inspired by the tale of Donald Crowhurst. These are the lyrics:

The Teignmouth Electron
(Benjamin Akira Tallamy)

The clouds are no ocean,
the stars are no mask
we may peer into shadow,
we may claw at the past,

but to be lost on that motion,
to be cast on that flood,
to be washed in that silence,
is colder than blood,

if the world was an ocean,
And the stars were but dreams,
And all men were sailors,
with the heart and the means,

Then to follow that notion,
to be drawn to that call,
To be lost in that silence,
would be the mercy of all,

come lay me down,
sweetly wash away,
the fear in your eyes and hold,
draw us down,
in arms alone,
all for to sleep and to pray,

All these words,
All the woes,
will soon be forgiven I say,
come on home,
to stay.

Harbours close to some few lonesome travelers,
Silence clings to those who choose to pray,

we are the world and the world is the world we let in,
We are the words and the world is the words we we let in,
we are the way of a heart locked in timeless motion,
we are the want of all dreams in an endless ocean.

Want to know more? Checkout:

Donald Crowhurst …..
The Teignmouth Electron – A single by Benjamin Akira Tallamy

Picture of Donald Crowhurst on New Quay Inn Teignmouth.  Painted by Mos Shaw

Picture of Donald Crowhurst on New Quay Inn Teignmouth. Painted by Mos Shaw

And as a plug for local street art here is a picture of Donald Crowhurst on the wall of the New Quay Inn, Teignmouth, painted by local artist Mos Shaw.