View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Friday, 19 October 2012

Friday 19 October

A nice, calm day after a very cold day. We went right down to freezing overnight, but awoke to bright sunshine.

In the afternoon, I went for an amble round the Castle Grounds to see how the autumn colours are getting along. Well, things are colouring nicely.

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And the poetry is coming along nicely, thank you. The last one was inspired by the Lady Matheson Memorial overlooking the Outer Harbour.


The proprietor

A cupola and statue
Not far from his castle
Looking out east over the harbour
A man who made his mark

Now a marker of Remembrance
then a token of wealth
ruthlessly accumulated
the seedbox of the poppy, and its dried sap

A war was fabricated
in the distant Orient
over the trade in this soporific
this analgesic - this addictive

The benefactor, so hailed by some
Made many an improvement
But selective who would enjoy it
If you were in arrears, off in the boat you went

Decided by his managers
wearing more than thirty hats at once
an impressive act of balancing
an abuse of powers never seen before or since

An arbitrary power of eviction
not always based in law
exercised by those in his stead
compassion and empathy were alien to them

A mixed view from the modern times
of what some term a drugs baron
Others, one who put the island into modern times
Money talks, even to this day

The mill

Moved by the wind or the flowing of water
Grinding of corn, after dark
A meeting place for many in days long ago
None of them left, but in ruins or display

The water still flows, but passes them by
even restored, their wheels stand still
Not now do the villagers need their grinding done here
Far off machines supply all that they need

Only approved would they be allowed
If not, their stones to be broken
What more, the distilling of spirits
The water of life, from the black pot

Suddenly illegal, well, who is to stop
The still by the stream
In the back of the house
Don't breathe one word