We look out, facing a distant army
Gathering, glinting white across the bay,
Harvesting the winds and ready to march
Towards us, modernity in their sails.
The sanctuary across the causeway
Leads the defence of our forgotten pasts,
Pointing like a sting ray, alert, ready.
The Rheged citadel in which we stand
Is just a faded memory, a bump
In the rocks and heathers. Modernity
Was its past, preservation its present,
But ill equipped to ward off the powers
The soldiers across the bay are fighting.
Collateral damage in that just war
Is the fate of many places like this.
So while we can, we shall breathe the sea air,
Listen to the oyster catcher’s shrill call,
And smile in the wealth of our heritage.
This is another of a series of poems that were inspired by a book, “Scenes Through Different Eyes”. This was a collaboration between Phil McMenemy, a photographer whose images he has allowed me to post here and Julie Dumbarton, an artist whose work can be seen on her website (www.juliedumbarton.com). They each brought their own skills and vision to the same landscape to create a beautiful book. Phil’s work can be explored on his Facebook page (www.facebook.com/GalleryAtLaurieston/) or on his website (https://philmcmenemy.smugmug.com/). Having bought the book, I didn’t want it to sit ignored on a coffee table and so I wrote a sequence of poems that forced me to look and think about the photographs and paintings. They will be posted here over the next few weeks.