This is meant to be another ‘humurous’ canter through the Cornish mind set. It has notes added for the non Cornish but mainly for my Dad – he gets confused! (Cornwall can be!)

FORGOTTEN BY THE BELLS
(A VIEW FROM A CORNISH VILLAGE)
BENJAMIN CUSDEN

We’re no longer summoned by the bells 1
But perhaps ‘on the Business Page, we score’. 2
There’s no footfall in the country lanes
Just the mummys’ 4x4s.

The poachers replaced by the I.T. guys,
Leather skin becomes tanned face.
And the farmer has long departed
The double-glazing man took his place.

They’ve taken their role in the community
And pushed us further out.
We welcomed them with open arms
Because to us there was no doubt.

They moved here because they loved it,
It was Cornwall and it was true.
They moved here because they loved it,
Now they’ve changed it for ‘one and all’. 3

Now Cornwall could be anywhere
And the village only has its name.
Because they all think they’re in England
And they all like it the same.

As we wave goodbye to the villages,
As they quickly all expand,
It’s not for ours but their kids
Who’ll be living on this land.

They’ve never marched up Camborne Hill 4
Or drunk Spingo in the sun. 5
They’ve never read about Tangye’s cat or 6
Ate venison fresh from the gun.

The Tamar was once a barrier
To stop the ‘silt’ moving down.
We need to dredge to full effect,
Or we will surely drown.

But the lights are on now the chough is back
And the miners will surely mine.
We’ll all support the fishermen
Against Europe’s forced decline. 7

Don’t let Kernow be like Bolster 8
In his unrequited fight.
Learn to bite the hand that eats at you
And stand up for your Cornish Right!

NOTES:

1: Summoned by the Bells. Betjeman.

2: Going Going: Philip Larkin.

3: The County of Cornwall’s motto. ‘One and All’ (in Cornish: ‘onen hag oll’).

4: ‘Camborne Hill’ is a traditional Cornish folk song that celebrates Richard Trevithik’s historic steam engine ride up Camborne Hill on Christmas Eve 1801. It is sung to rouse independence, generally at rugby matches.
Goin’ up Camborne Hill, coming down
Goin’ up Camborne Hill, coming down
The horses stood still;
The wheels went around;
Going up Camborne Hill coming down
5: Spingo is a beer brewed at the Blue Anchor Inn in Helston. There are four varieties ranging from 4.5% – 7.4%. (Spingo means ‘strong beer’ in Old English). Prized by the Cornish.
6: Tangye is a Cornish author beloved by the Cornish, famous for his books on cats and other creatures. (John and I once took a shortcut through his garden when walking on the Cornish cliffs).

7: The Cornish coat of arms:

This verse of the poem is represented by the extinction of Cornwall through the passing of:
The Fisherman, The Cornish Chough and The Miner. These are the three symbolic representatives on the Cornish coat of arms. (They are also represented on the Laverton Mayor Chair in Truro Cathedral).

i) European laws on fish quotas. As the industry dies the fishing villages disappear with it.
ii) The chough is a large bird indigenous to Cornwall, which, until recent re-introduction and breeding programmes, was deemed extinct in Cornwall.
iii) The miner was deemed extinct in Cornwall when the last metalliferous tin mine (South Crofty was closed in 1999. (Mining here can be traced back to 1592). It has recently been, cautiously, re-opened and there is now some tin mining in Cornwall.

8: Kernow is the Celtic name for Cornwall. Bolster is a Cornish giant who was tricked into dying by a woman that spurned his affections.

copyright © Benjamin Gestaltung Cusden all rights reserved
Advertisements