A miner walked from Wheal Kitty

to Trevellas at the end of a day

and the path he took was atop the cliff

for that was his easiest way.


The moon rode high oe'r the breakers

as the path did twist and turn

and the Gods of the deep were lurking there

with nothing new to learn.


Fourteen hours at fifty fathoms

had taken the breath from him

and the night was quiet but his heart beat loud

on the clifftop's ancient rim.


A ship came round from Cligga Point

the rigging spiked with light

and he crossed his heart for such was the way

to redeem a sailor's plight. 


Its distant lantern sparked and swung

for why he could not say;

an urgent sign it seemed to be

then its bearer moved away.


With weary tread the miner went

his body racked with cold,

with a mile yet ahead of him

and a story to be told


for soon he saw a maiden walking

some distance up ahead

half turning to watch the ghostly ship

then she heard his tread.


The moon it cast their shapes against

the backdrop of the sky

and soon he reached her where she stood

and heard a lullaby.


So delicate and sweet was that eerie voice

that he stood and met her gaze

she smiled and held her arms apart

as he went into a daze.


Entranced, he pressed up close to her

while the moon absolved the sight;

she drew him to her bosom

and her eyes were very bright. 


As her lips brushed by his ear

she spoke a gaelic tongue

with a distant echo of flaming hills

though she was very young.


Then drawing back her willing face

she pointed to the ship;

no trace of it could now be seen,

his heart began to slip


and when he turned to look at her

the face had turned to green

the breath of her was like the sea

her hair in knots obscene.


Though the miner trod the darkened ways

in labyrinths of tin,

this apparition was a  test of strength

he knew he couldn't win.


He hurried from that awful place

not caring to look back

until he reached Trevellas

down that fateful miners' track.







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Thu 16th Nov 2017 19:04

Thank you Fred. It is nice to have your feedback , much obliged.

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Fred Varden

Thu 16th Nov 2017 10:39

Great Ray, a beautiful poetic story, told with fine expression and mystery. Thank you.

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Thu 2nd Nov 2017 21:15

This was entirely my own idea Suki - but I pieced it together as I started writing, so it did feel a surprise - I hope it works in that way. I left it a bit open for interpretation, so as to disorientate the reader. I should be aware of the WOL system; never thought of that, thanks.

Cheers Col. This was a re-post from a couple of years back. Thanks for picking up the positives!

Kevin, I know you like a tale or two yourself! That sort of derring do could keep the punters happy I suppose. I read one of the Famous Five stories about smuggling once . Was I influenced by it - nah!

Thanks all x Ray

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kJ Walker

Thu 2nd Nov 2017 07:37

Fantastic Ray. And the way that you read it sounded lake you were telling a true story.
I could imagine smugglers telling this tale to frighten people away from where they commit their activities .

Cheers Kevin

<Deleted User> (13762)

Wed 1st Nov 2017 08:32

excellent Ray - I could see myself reading this from a book of Cornish Ghost Stories bought from a tin mine museum. Cliffs, mines, the sea, apparitions, Cornish place names - such boundless imagery to draw upon. Thanks for this. Col.

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suki spangles

Tue 31st Oct 2017 23:14

Hi Ray,

Wow! What was your inspiration for this? Was it a novel or film, or did it drop into your poetry mind ready-made?

A wonderfully dark magical realist tale ~ a miner, used to the dangers of the subterranean depths, almost meets his nemesis via reverie, dream-nightmare-fantasy..

Very atmospheric, and a fun read too. Beautifully constructed..

By the way, as it's almost November I hope this poem also doesn't disappear into the archive mist. It might be worth re-uploading in a few hours when WOL resets for the new month's admissions.


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