"A man, mortal, looks to the world to come..."
A little-known poet who may have become a great talent.. He was born in Forrest Court, Berwick, Scotland in 1899, the son of the Lochbridge Toll watchman. He was educated in the Public School, and frequented the library, where I fondly imagine he read the romantics and composed his first clumsy stanzas.
His best early work was a series of short love poems to Naomi, possibly Naomi Hay, daughter of the local policeman, although there is no record of an engagement or marriage.
In September 1921 he received a commission from a local landowner, possibly Sir Walter Hamilton-Dalrymple? to write a laudatory ode in praise of the Burgh Golf Club, to be engraved on the clubhouse plaque. He was offered the princely sum of one guinea, which must have been a cause of great excitement to him.
He took himself to the Isle of Isla, perhaps to seek insipration, where he was found hanged in his room, having penned this a strange verse, greatly out of character. We know of no motive for his suicide. Perhaps Naomi rejected him, or perhaps there was a more sinsister reason. The local waters are said to be infested with strange grey creatures, named after a dialect term for Satan - the Clooties.
The Sea Speaks Not and Yet...
I cannot sleep. I hide my
From surf and swell and blow
Since I have seen the queer grey men
That nightly come and go.
The village squats in sodden dusk
With sea-mist draped, and drear.
And aye the waves, and aye the waves
Come rushing far and near.
When every door is locked and barred
And every curtain drawn
'Tis then they come, unseen, but heard.
Forsook. Forgot. Forlorn.
The old know better than to look.
The young are fast abed.
But I, with lonely cynic's pride
And science in my head,
I looked. I shall not look
For yet I see them pass,
The hollow faces of the drowned
In mist beyond the glass.
More poetry by Morton-Blunkett
copyright 2004 Pelgrane Press Ltd.