Tag Archives: barbara hine

Exciting News

Cover imageIt has been a little while since the last post mainly because I have been busy putting together a selection of these poems into a book “Pebbles on the Shore”, which is currently at the printers.

Poetry and Song have long been a traditional way of recording stories of people and events, as an alternative way of remembering.  So, with that in mind, each piece of verse in the book has a brief story attached to tie it in to its place in the shaping of Teignmouth and the surrounding area.  I have also worked with a local artist, Maureen Fayle, who has illustrated the various pieces.  Her superb pen and ink sketches lend so much more depth to the stories that unfold.

Fresh to Bleed 13-cropThe selection goes back almost 400 years but there are a few contemporary pieces as well so thanks to the ‘modern-day’ contributors for allowing me to include their work:  Ian Chamberlain (one of the co-founders of Poetry Teignmouth), Kim Edwards, Bob Freshwater (and the Back Beach Boyz), Deborah Harvey, Barbara Hine, Don Pearson and Tacy Rickard.

Teignmouth 27 - cropped1This project started just over two years ago with a thought and a question. Walking up the cliff path through the beautiful Mules Park in East Teignmouth I saw a poem, The Darkling Thrush by Thomas Hardy, posted on the noticeboard. Who put it there I don’t know, but it struck a chord. My thoughts drifted to Keats. Teignmouth is proud of its association with John Keats even though he stayed here only three months whilst looking after his brother Tom who had come earlier in hope that the sea air would alleviate, if not cure, his consumption. Then came the random question – were there any other poems or poets associated with Teignmouth? And so this project was born.

The journey to this book has been like a walk along the beach, occasionally finding interesting pebbles whose shape, texture and colour define the shoreline like poems marking time in the history of Teignmouth.



To Dance on Teignmouth Pier

The Right Side of the Pier

There have been a number of poems written about Teignmouth Pier, still one of the iconic and leading attractions on the seafront despite the most recent damage caused by the 2013 winter storms.

Here is another take on the Pier with a nostalgic view of its heyday when ‘dance’ was one of the main forms of entertainment.

To Dance on Teignmouth Pier
(Barbara Hine)

During the forties and fifties or so
The Pier was the place to go.
On many a night when the moon was bright
The Pavilion held its show.

There was comedy and song, all week long,
And even an acrobat strong,
There were beauty contests and famous guests
Who performed with great aplomb.

There was a place to eat where friends could meet
To indulge in a little treat.
No tea in a mug, no ‘Little Brown Jug’
But china and napkins neat.

But best of all was the lure of the hall
And the excitement of a ball.
For a real live band above the sand
Did nothing but enthral.

The dance floor fine with seductive shine
Was a veritable Glenn Miller shrine.
The bands played loud, the latest sound,
Above the foaming brine.

And with drinks and food, the girls were wooed
To get them ‘In the mood’.
When the boys cast a glance at the weekly Dance,
They did not think it rude.

With their hair in curls and ‘A String of Pearls’
And a spangly dress for twirls,
They gilded around to the big band sound.
They were up for it all, those girls!

Be it waltz or foxtrot, they didn’t mind what,
They quick-stepped away to the lot:
The rumba, the mamba, the cha cha, the samba
They gave them their very best shot.

For they all came here in excellent cheer
To lighten the fifties drear,
After days In the sun, they craved laughter and fun
And to dance on Teignmouth Pier.

So the music played and the people swayed
To ‘The Moonlight Serenade’,
While some went on deck, for a hug and a peck
And a gentle promenade.

And ‘I know why’ there was nipping and stripping –
The young were indulging in skinny-dipping.
Then they’d get themselves dressed so no one would guess,
But went home through the town all dripping.

Back in fifty-four, when folk took to the floor,
Not one of them knew the score:
That soon men would go ‘Over the Rainbow’,
In space ships they would soar.

There’d be lunar cars and trips to Mars –
The earth would have no bars.
There’d be astronauts then and little green men
‘On the Stairway to the Stars’.

James Bond would ride on the incoming tide
And people would just stay inside
To watch the tele with legs like jelly
The day the music died.

With the sixties new, beatlemania grew,
And ‘Come Dancing’ was just for the few.
When the bubble burst and TV did its worst,
It was discos for me and you.

Those nights on the pier, folk had no idea
That a brand new era was near,
That storm and fire would make a pyre
Of the ballroom once so dear.

And the Pavilion grand would come to land
Far out from the amber strand,
Where hand in hand on the edge of the sand
They had danced to a Glenn Miller Band.


Storms hit the pier

Storms hit the pier

Want to know more?  Check out:

Teignmouth Pier …..

Cockleshell Hero

The Salty

The Salty

We’ve had a few poems about the Salty and its inhabitants – the cormorants, oysters, oystercatchers etc.

Here’s another which gives a different view of the shellfish to be found on these low-tide estuarial flats.

(Barbara Hine)

Mussel bound
They sift the Salty
To ply their trade –
The winkle pickers,
The shell seekers –
Here a bucket,
There a spade.

I hitch a ride
On a bit of the Teign
Left behind by the tide –
Free-falling down
To anonymous sand,
A cowering cockle
On a seaweed strand.

They crouch and probe
These mussel men,
Performing amniocentesis
On glorious mud,
And the pile in the bucket
Grows thud by thud.

I open a valve.
‘I’m stale’, I cry –
I know it’s naughty
But it’s worth a try!
The blue shells rattle
Like dead men’s bones
As the buckets pass by…

Blue not white.
Then I’m all right!
Moules Mariniere’s
The dish of the day.
I breathe a bubble.
Rule OK.

Want to know more?  Check out:

Barbara Hine …..