© Noel Harrower 2018
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                                Exmouth’s Extraordinary Women                                      (Before the Railway came.) Scanning shelves of local histories Dipping, nipping through the pages I seek answers to the mysteries Of strong-minded Exmouth women. Tripping back two hundred years – One mistress of a Duke of York Created talk and great commotions By selling government promotions. Up above – upon the Beacon, a haven from abandoned lives and refuge for discarded wives, Lady Byron, Lady Nelson assemble cards and sip their wine. While, down the bottom of that hill Old Nancy Piriam is still nursing memories of the Nile, When, as a girl, she fought the French surviving wars and wild sea wrecks. ‘Powder monkey’ they called her. “Dogsbody’s really what I were!” Now home again, this pilot’s wife, Stone-deaf from cannon’s roar and strife leads a safer, harboured life. Above the town, at “A La Ronde”, a circled home built on a rill surveying sea and sky and mill, the fossilled Parminters are housed – two spinster ladies, tombed in shells beach gathered from around the world. Bathing machines surround the beach – Dipper women standing by, in kilted skirts and bathing caps, with donkeys fastened in their shafts and towels to help one dry. Grass widows and keen mussel pickers, Girls in doorways sewing lace, All storied in the library here - a tapestry of yesteryear.                                                                                                    End            ECHOES FROM THE DEEP                                         NOEL HARROWER                         “And  we are born a little space that we                           might learn to bear the beams of love. “           William Blake. Each day the rich sun rises each day the rich sun wanes, and twice each day the tide rolls in and twice it turns again. “There is a rhythm to our lives it waxes - then it ebbs, a microcosm of the whole an echo from the deep.” And when I tread Jurassic paths or hear the surge of seas or peer at distant misting cliffs I sense an awesome ease – for we are creatures of an hour yet time itself dissolves as life rides on through centuries and Earth itself revolves. If I were up in outer space There’d be no dawn or eve. We see a mirage of the whole – Our senses are deceived. So light and dark are always here upon the watching sands. And who am I, who are the gulls that ride the rising air? the shoals of fish in ancient tides the fossil crusted rocks? “A microcosm of the whole an echo from the deep,” a voice that cries from distant space, a dream that flows through sleep. --------------------------------------------- NOEL HARROWER
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