Oh, Fragrant Harbour of the east, where the Pearl River flows,

A borrowed place on borrowed time, history now knows;

The Union Flag, raised on barren rock, in another time,

Was lowered gracefully today, in democracy and wealth sublime.

The Governor stood in reverence, for those emblems taken away,

With skirl of ‘Highland Cathedral’ played and bugle in the fray.

Patriot Patten, preordained, to vacate that far off gate,

Man of destiny, it was his hour, to oversee that ‘Pocket State’.

Drums then were beat at old Tamar, by servants of the Crown,

Highlander, Guard and Ghurka there, combatants of renown.

This was no retreat to victory, or withdrawal in defeat,

At this blend of east and west, where the waters meet.

Quality was on display, with dignity for all to feel,

Pride was in the Ghurka’s eye, standing among those men of steel;

Reflecting how he’d served with them, as forefathers had before,

Spectres of the past within his head, to soldier there no more.

‘ Twas in that great ‘Convention Hall’, the final moments came,

Fanfares of trumpets sounding, for those of power and fame;

The Prince and Chairman speaking, on things agreed to be,

In that pearl of the orient, where river meets the sea.

Honoured Sailor of the Queen, then furled the symbol of our land,

Raised there in Victoria’s name, a century and a half to stand.

Thereupon straight to the ships, that waited on the wave,

For Governor, Prince and Fighting Men, stalwarts all and brave.

Now the Cenotaph stands stark and gaunt, no banners to be seen,

Government House with gardens lush, lawns preened and green;

Troops of yore, rest in hillside soil, Lions of the past,

From an unforgotten Empire, whose values were to last.

All ye who yearn for glory gone, and the one who weeps,                       

Remember Dragons are of myth, the Lion merely sleeps;

Such flame still burns in Warriors, we saw at old Tamar,

And in the custodian of the flag, that trusted British Tar.

                                                              Monty Alexander


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