Friday, 7 August 2015

keeping the light



The English and Welsh Grounds lightship

Some ships are bound for Newport Docks, and they pass to the west of us;
And the Sharpness and the Bristol boats sail safely to the east
And the flood tide that sometimes roars enough to fright the best of us
Uplifts us, but it will not shift our anchorage the least.

There as always is the chimney of the Uskmouth power station,
Lined up with the transporter bridge and distant Ysgyryd Fawr;
And the goods trains wind away with all the produce of the nations
While our newspapers are out of date and week-old milk’s gone sour.

Still, there’s tab nabs at smokoe, after sujieing and holystone;
And a splash of conny onny that goes nicely in the tea.
And each day in the log takes me closer still to going home-
Though when I’m home I wonder if my real home’s the sea.

Cos when dusk comes and we light the lamp, and settle down to tend for it,
I look up and down the channel, and see all the lights like ours
From Flat Holm down to Countisbury; St Brides Wentlooge; the Breaksea ship;
The beacons of the South Wales shore, of Devon and of Somerset;
The flashing lights, the steady ones, that sparkle near and far;
One great coastal constellation, and it’s we who tend the stars.


glossary and pronunciation:
tab nabs - snacks
smokoe - break 
sujieing - mopping (pronounced SOO-jee-ing)
holystone - a stone block used to scour decks
conny onny - condensed milk
Ysgyryd Fawr, otherwise the Skirrid, is a prominent mountain near Abergavenny, and pronounced UZ-grud VOW-r