Heritage – Our Story

Never far from sundering sea

Gull’s and gannets make strident calls

The taste of salt is on the air

And fishes drying on the racks

Ragged nets spread calling to be mended

And rigging slapping on the mast

While mooring ropes groan with every swell

Spray and foam cast up on windward side

And leeward offers brief shelter from the gale

Nor from the depths of earth’s dark womb

Digging for the wealth to fuel the age

Of industry’s onrushing march of steam

They swing their picks and lay the charges

Keeping wary eye on yellow birds in iron cages

Ever alert for creaking beam or cascading thunder

Signalling the doom of any or all

Depending which side of the fall you’re on

The whistle sounds a mournful wail

As women and children gather awaiting news

Which chair at dinner, which bed at night lies empty.

Nor in great factories of brick and stone where

Great iron wheels revolve driving mighty pistons

With relentless deafening thunder

While flying belts propel clattering looms

Spitting out the weave and wealth of commerce

Bound for holds of ships to foreign lands

Foundries spit and glow and belch

Consuming all the produce of the mines

Loaded and transported from pit-head

To the yard where barges carry the output

Of those who sweat and labour underground.

Nor in the fields where generations of crofters

Tended herds, sheared the sheep,

Cleaned fleece, carded, spun and wove

And all the while kept ravenous wolves at bay

Drove their shaggy beasts from field to market

Harvested scant crops from stoney barren soil

They cut and dried the peat to feed the home fires,

Mended and re-mended simple garments

And sang and danced to strings and pipes

That called out both to young and old

“Forget your cares for this brief time.

This life is yours as it has been for generations past

And will be forever more.”

Until by chance you cast your eyes to foreign lands

Not so unforgiving, so harsh, so unrelenting

To plant new roots and offer to your children more

To rise above the mines, the mills, the factories, the fields

And to your children’s children,

Hope.

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