‘A Little Port’.

As promised in last month’s Buzz here is the poem about Appledore written by George Douglas Warden (father of Audrey Jones of Bideford) , who was wounded and lost his sight in World War One.

(Contributed by Audrey’s daughter-in-law, Eleanor Jones).

‘A little port’.

In Appledore, the cobbled floor

of many a steep and narrow way

seems ready to leap across the quay

over the bar and out to sea,

dancing away with a thousand years

of Devon lore from Appledore.

Like a wandering child by love beguiled

a coaster hugs the maternal quay

her lullaby the sound afar of the lone low beat

of the harbour bar.

So old, this place that time it seems

is kept in store at Appledore.

Within a maze of weathered stays

of stocks and struts and stilted beams

a toy ship waits in a toy dry dock

for her overhaul and painted frock

they’re ‘broidering “Laura” on her breast

say the crew ashore in Appledore.

Old men tell tales of winter gales

clattering boots on cobbled ways

of daunting wave and doleful bell

when they launched the lifeboat into hell

of widows mourning measured by

the weeds they wore in Appledore.

But lazy days in summer haze

and idling on the quiet quay

put thought’s winter far behind

like migrant swallows outward bound.

So on this splendid tragedy, I’ll swell no more

in Appledore.


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