As a wide-eyed boy I listened to the stories often told,
Of a far-flung rugged island around which the ocean rolled;
My father wistfully remembering how it was his native home
Away from the coast of Maine beyond the Atlantic foam.
“My boy these things I speak of, you remember well
And when you are a man full grown to others you must tell;
Of the Isle that gave me life, that gem in a northern sea,
Where in life and death my heart will always be”.
Now I grew up and roamed the Earth, this lore within my head;
I sailed on ‘Yankee’ clipper ships and to foreign lands have sped,
Father’s words a spur to me when danger I had to face;
“Your blood is of that Rathlin stock a sound and hardy race”.
Then one day as we sailed West on a fierce and turbulent sea,
We ran for a sheltered anchorage in a welcome island lee;
Seeing those white cliffs capped with black from that placid bay,
A familiar feeling came to me, I remember to this day.
That little Church with square built tower, the houses low and white;
With Rathlin Isle before me a haunting awesome sight;
On headlands standing all around, yellow ochre of the whin
Always remembered by my Sire as he grew old and thin.
No mighty pines stood there as in my native Maine,
Moreso the sloping stunted thorn bent by wind and rain.
There I stood enraptured until the day was dark,
Father still upon my mind from this place so stark;
Then there at the break of day to herald the coming morn,
We weighed and stowed our anchor and left the Isle where he was born.
Monty Alexander 9.6.96