Welcome to Cornwall!


Penzance is a dangerous place!

It is full of Pirates and has a slot

In the wall of the public toilet

For the disposal of used needles.

We know about the Pirates because

Messrs Gilbert & Sullivan sang it so

And a ship in the harbour flies the

Skull and crossed bones, the piratical crew

Stare waxily back, a Brexit poster warns

Of an innate belligerence. 

Old fishermen's cottages cluster around the harbour

And an Inn where men in their cups were once pressed

Into service for the King, or a darker master.

Their lot as hard as tack for either.

The harbour is now a summer glade of slender masts, 

A faint echo of great timbers and forests of sail.

Neither here are the fleets of more recent memory,

The fish are all fished and most boats now

Are crabbers.

But the Isles of Scilly are

A destination still

Queue here for the ferry!

And so to tea in the finest tradition:

The nice lady, in broad Scouse,

Asks us to wait while she pops to

The Co-op for some clotted cream.

The jam is foiled in plastic pots,

The scones factory fresh.

We leave brimming with our sugary treat along

Streets empty of proper shops denuded by

The Internet and by austerities 

That we are all in together. 

A former prosperity is revealed

Beneath peeling paint and above the 

Glazed shop fronts of recent decades.

A grander architecture home now for

Bric-a-Brac, and this, and that.

Dear Penzance,

I hope you can navigate

The uncertain shores of the 21st Century

Don't Kiss-me-Quick or shiver my timbers

But trust and hold 

To your venerable history.

Kernow a' gas dynergh!


(c) Simon Conner, Penzance, June 2016

© Simon Conner 2016