‘Whitby’ (A Gothic Folly)

Photo by Toni Friedemann on Pexels.com

It’s the same sounds all round the harbour,
the cries of birds immemorial, echoes
through the cliffs of stacked up buildings, over
masts of twee named boats, men’s bobbing toys.

Your voice is still fresh in my mind, I see
yesterday’s tears in your eyes — that won’t see
me again, our little talks cut off by that corporate
guillotine. It had nothing to do with me.

But didn’t I say you should come here, to Whitby?
Simply to sit, drink it in, watch the gnarled men with sticks
hobble over cobbles, their tight permed wives
with ice creams, moaning, putting worlds to right.

The goths gather here, swarming to darkness,
and the name of Nosferatu, with steampunk dress 
codes posing, mingling with transient gulls 
strutting their stuff through archaic streets,

owning the place. Enough of my platitudes,
our shared liking for Camembert. You made
your choice, it was the mortgage and the dog,
tethered to the post called debt. It was sad, perhaps

I expected more. So is it sheer folly of me
to hope you read these words? — This tired old man
who just wanted to show you Whitby,
that we might make small talk once more.

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

dVerse — Poetics 427 — Mussenden’s Temple

29 thoughts on “‘Whitby’ (A Gothic Folly)

  1. This swarms with darkness indeed. There’s grief and sadness here as well, but it’s so beautifully written. A longing that can be no longer, choices to make, and then dealing with the fallout. That’s what I’m seeing with this piece. Very beautifully penned. I enjoyed reading it!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I see a whole lot of folly here and there, with deep emotions woven around and through them with deftness. It is sad when those we feel genuine connection with part ways for one reason or another. You never know, she might just show up one day to your home by the water!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Wonderful Whitby, the magnet that draws the gorgeous goths! My husband and I took my daughter and her dog about ten years ago. We were staying outside Pickering and went on the steam train. It was one of the best days, including a trip around the harbour in a boat driven by a total maniac! We had some fun watching seagulls steal chips, until they came for ours! Your poem brought it all back to me. I do regret not buying some jet while I was there, but I’m glad I was able to climb the steps up to the abbey – couldn’t do it now. I love the little personal touches between the evocative descriptions – and the wonderful internal rhyme of ‘hobble over cobbles’.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you for this visit to Whitby! I love the place, such a beautiful, haunting seaside town. If I ever go back there I’ll be haunted by memories of my vanished youth! This was the first place I ever went on holiday without my parents. I do hope your intended reads and is moved by your words!

    Liked by 1 person

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