Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Throughout the 1920s, Albert Ash Allen and "R I P" wrote consistently bad verses for the readers of the Exmouth Journal. I am allowed to say this. I have written plenty of bad verses myself. These though by "R I P" , squeezed in between advertisements for Miller's Motor Coach Tours and Grey Flannels for Town or Country in the newspaper of 23rd April 1927, in all their innocence, almost work. From the evidence of his verses "R.I.P." sounds like he might have come from Salcombe, (Does anybody know?) But one Devon estuary is as good as another I suppose.

Up to a point, I sort of know how the old chap felt. I never do seem to see anyone I recognise in Exmouth these days.


One spot alone in all the earth .
comes back to me where'er I roam,
my little town, my place of birth,
that bears for me the name of home.

For often will the fancy stray
amid the scenes of long ago,
the same old rocks are there today,
I see them like a passing show.

There stands the Bolt, whose grim old head
though aged yet is still unbent,
whose rocks were there when sea o'erspread
the chalky downs and cliffs of Kent.

I see the Bar, now gleaming white
where relics of the drowned lie
whose voice lone widows hear at night
nor ever hear without a sigh.

And there the harbour where the tide
lays bare the flats where shrimpers go
and likely spots where cockles hide
or wily prawns dart to and fro.

Then up the creeks at harbour head
where now the tidal waters flow,
each one an ancient river bed,
but who can say how long ago?

I see the schooners as of yore,
swing slowly with the ebb and flow
and I can hear the sailors roar
their chanty when to sea they go.

There too, the boys, young sailor men,
companions in adventures bold;
the years are shed 'twixt now and then,
and I forget that I am old.

But now that I am home again
no well known voices do I hear,
for friends of old I look in vain
and I am but a stranger here.

And some within God's Acre lie,
for some the legend,"Lost at sea,"
and yet, for me, they cannot die
while they come back to memory.


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