The Citadel of Fergus stands on a windswept northern shore,
Where Angle, Scot and Norman are known from years before;
In the ancient arch of chiselled stone above the entrance door,
Are grooves where spears were sharpened by sentries of yore.
Enemies trapped by portcullises dropped awaited molten lead,
Scalded, lampooned and blasted by those prancing overhead;
The ‘murder hole’ served its purpose until all below were dead,
Those attackers whose fate was sealed as their life blood fled.
A sanctity of strength at times, or safer outside than within,
Garrison with surrounding assailants, hell-bent on getting in;
Chiefs as ‘The Bruce’ or King John a dogged siege would begin,
Stubborn stalwart defenders resisting as their forms grew thin.
So, times there were it could be said, ‘twas not the place to be,
Inside those walls that bastion on the shore of a northern sea;
Rather await the sieger’s sword sometimes the wise did flee,
Devoid of goods but with their lives to remain abroad and free.
Then there was the doughty ‘Dutchman’ who landed on the pier,
To rally those swearing allegiance in that celebrated year;
Cannon ball and musket had replaced the trusted bow and spear,
As that hostile host wended south, conflict again was near.
Now when you walk the promenade wearing woollen scarf and coat,
Beneath those ramparts of destiny with lapping briny moat;
Reflect on those who in the past viewed them from land and boat,
And men who steadfast held those walls without sustenance or oat.
Monty Alexander 5.5.97