Monday, 2 March 2015

A Penzance Ballad

I would I were in Penzance town
   With the grey clouds scudding,
And the salt-fresh rain hurling down
   And the wind’s fist thudding.

There the granite mansions gleam,
   Shaken by the wrack;
A leaping veil of spray like steam
   Writhes to the gale’s attack.                                     

Screaming gulls are laughing-mad;
   Like litter on the wind
They fling across the promenade
   With all the speed of mind.

Loose windows rattle day and night,
   Rain rapping the panes,
The scantle roofs are soaking-bright
   And the stones in the lanes.

In Penlee Park the thrashing trees
   Groaningly give way;
The shrubs fold over to their knees,
   Leaves flying like spray.

In Market Jew Street good folk huddle,
   The wind seizing bags;
Cats sidle primly around each puddle,
   Their fur ruffled to rags.

O, what a sight is in Mounts Bay!
   Beneath a broiling gloom
Flint-black breakers roar their way
   Onto the beach like doom.

There’s a frothing maelstrom on Battery Rocks
   Challenged by barking dogs;
Comes a mighty spitting curler and knocks
   Them away like logs.

Even the brave Scillonian boat
   For all her rough-weather gear
Can’t stare a Force Nine in the throat
   And slinks behind Albert Pier.

O, the far wet west is a savage place,
   Stark, elemental, grim;
But it calls the exile who turns his face
   To that far wet rim.

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© June 2013

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