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Poetry About Caithness

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WICK HARBOUR - Stephen Whymart

The harbour water has a movement so slight,
Like an unceasing and sensuous caress,
Wind ruffles the water, glittering and bright,
As if sheathed in a shimmering silken dress,

A glowing incandescence of diamond and gold,
Belaying today's truth of the dirt, oil and cold.
All along the cliff top stands Pulteneytown,
Sitting with a swathe of green velvet below,

The sun flashes off glass, like jewels in the crown,
And setting the Old Men's House aglow,
Red abd cream the Herrin' Mart, much restored with care,
Lies silent and empty, no buyers shouting there.

The quay side houses are an artists delight,
Newly harled and painted in cream, grey and brown,
Show contrast with the buildings rustic not bright,
In Caithness Flagstone, like the rest of the town.

Pretty as a picture, the harbour nestles there,
But many are facades, lying empty and bare.
Gaudy boats tied to the quay, painted red and blue,
But a closer look reveals the rust showing through.

The fishing is now gone with the wind, sheet and sail,
Reason enough for men to drown pints of ale,
Wick, Oh Wick, you cannot hide,
Your heart has ebbed with the tide.


Stephen Whymart was in Wick in 2000 working on the Harbour Wall defenses.