This is a poem wot I wrote many years ago and which I actually set to music a few years ago. However, I am no Donnacha O'Laoghaire either vocally or on the geetar, so I'll reproduce the poem without the musical violation. Incidentally, there is, nor ever was, a lighthouse off Tremaine, nor any village of that name, that I am aware of and the events only happened in my morbid imagination.
Come hear my strange story, repulsive and gory,
about one who was ruthlessly slain.
It happened, you see, back in 1903
on the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
The storm lashed the bay on that terrible day,
clouds darkened the sea like a stain.
And when evening fell, it became black as hell,
with no beam from the light off Tremaine.
By eleven o’clock, there were crowds on the dock,
all willing the tempest to wane.
But the winds from the north meant no boat could set forth
for the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
Still no light from the rock by one, two o’clock
and the people sang hymns in the rain.
Through that night dark and long, they knew something was wrong
in the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
The first keeper, Prior, was about to retire,
John Dancer was hitched to Liz Wayne,
while Mattie McGraw had a family of four,
all stood on the quay at Tremaine.
Dawn rose o’er the town ‘ere the high winds died down
And a fishing boat hauled up its chain.
And it battled the swell on its journey to hell
to the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
It passed the quay wall looking desperately small
as the waves crashed a howling refrain.
And the crowd on the quay watched it go silently
as it fought with the seas off Tremaine.
It was buffeted hard as it crept yard by yard, the small bow creaking under the strain. But despite the resistance, it made the long distance to the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine. But no-one came out of that great chimney spout to see why the boat was in train. So they knew straight away there was something astray on the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine. Now, reaching the light was but half of their plight for, to all of the crew, it was plain that the boat couldn’t land on the quayside as planned at the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
They concocted a plan that one very brave man should be winched onto shore with the crane, or the boat would be dashed by the high sea that lashed the old lighthouse two miles off Tremaine. The pilot drew near, well disguising his fear, again and again and again, till he gave a great shout and the winch swung about by the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine. Steve Murtagh swung high ‘neath the querulous sky and regarded the brine with disdain. In the rain and the cold, he gained a weak hold on the treacherous rock off Tremaine. His harness unhitched, as the boat tossed and pitched, he crawled to the blacked-out domain. To the steel door he hied, pushed it once, went inside the old lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
On the very top floor, what a nightmare he saw, as the gale outside howled as in pain. The walls were splashed red and Con Prior lay dead in the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
John Dancer sat hunched, his eyes tightly scrunched, his gibberings wild and inane. But of Mattie McGraw, no traces Steve saw in that lighthouse two miles off Tremaine. Steve questioned John Dancer but got ne’er an answer, for a switch had been flicked in his brain. And he could not make sense of the train of events at the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine. One very much dead from a blow to the head. One missing, the other insane. And it ne’er came to light what transpired that night on the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine. The lamp is now static, unwatched, automatic. The seagulls alight on the pane. But at night in their dreams, people still hear the screams
from the lighthouse two miles off Tremaine.
Tuskar Rock, county Wexford
That's a fine piece Pete, great pace and story unfolding. Loved itReplyDelete
This is brilliant, Pete! A totally classic ballad. FinolaReplyDelete