View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 12 October 2012

The bell tolls

The bell tolls
Hauntingly over the dark moving plain
Fast moving currents of air
and of water
Smash through the doors, flooding

The bell tolls
Its call answered from all corners, echoed
Driven ashore, the boat is stuck fast
The men taken off, on the edge
Taken to safety - the wind still howls

The bell tolls
An alarm call to all
The low tide at high tide level
The barriers stand, but what will hold
Force 12 at springtide flood

The bell tolls
Over torrents of water, flooding
Crumbling barriers, sweeping away all
Islands retaken, the sea reconquers
Lost for centuries, it reclaims within hours

The bell tolls
As dawn breaks, over a sea of death
Houses afloat, byres adrift
Roads washed away, the railway torn up
The tide has turned, but the water remains

The bells ring out their peal, joyously so
The barriers gleam white
Blocking river from the sea, deprived of its spoils
Peace for our time
Can we withstand?

Friday 12 October

After an inch and a half of rain since yesterday, it has finally dried up this evening. There has been much more rain in northeastern Scotland, where a house was partly washed away in dramatic flooding.

Image courtesy BBC.

The first tropical cyclone of the southern hemisphere season (01S) has formed in the Indian Ocean near Diego Garcia, and will move westsouthwest across empty waters far to the north of Mauritius. The northern hemisphere season is by no means over, with typhoon Prapiroon south of Japan and minor tropical storm Patty off the Bahamas. Another storm could be forming near the Lesser Antilles, although 98L is only a very active tropical wave at present.

I have taken delivery of a book "World War One - A Chronological Narrative", which offers an overview of events between 1914 and 1918 / 19. I have a tenuous grasp of the subject, and it's useful to have the greater picture. 

The emigrant ship

Wide open ocean, headed southwest
Morning is breaking, all is set fair
Compass is pointing, but not the right way
From points in the east they have all come

Breakfast time comes, but the water is salt
A rock in the bottom, now a bottomless ship
Going back makes a right-angled turn
From east - now down

A new beginning from a stifling stranglehold
Young, old, and all, for reasons too old
A man and a cross, an onion-domed palace
Flocked to the northland, to now make the west

What's left is in boats, drifting northeast
Away from the new life, but for now still in life
Not all will reach salvation
As their coracles drift on the currents

A fishing boat here, another one there
Help is at hand, and terra firma beckons
An island and town, and a gravestone by a wall
All went for the new life, some do yet gain it

One boats drifts northeast, past the isle of the sheep
past the line of long sun, into the great cold
Never seen again in this life
Lessons were taught, but were they learned?

Describing the sinking of the emigrant ship Norge at Rockall in June 1904