The Ship Inn I remember and other poems

A selection of poems by Alasdair Kennedy (Walpole 64)



I remember so well a pub called the Ship Inn in Elie on the coast of Fife,
Where the local fishermen and farm hands would meet and share a tale,
Conversations interrupted by laughter and glasses raised to celebrate life,
With a view of the ocean and harbour from where day seafarers set sail.
I remember my bar stool so that I could speak with the skipper of The Ship
Alas, I cannot recall his name but he became a friend and I felt on board,
I was a young man then and planning my life before making the long trip,
I said that I would miss his hospitality as I knew I had some rivers to ford.
I remember well listening to the brogue of those that came to enjoy a draft,
I couldn´t understand most of what they said but still felt part of the crowd
I knew I was in a place with character where I often relaxed and laughed,
The Inn was rustic in those days, 52 years ago, I did not need to speak loud!
I remember sharing a few pints with my Dad before I left the friendly shores,
We talked lots and I know he also liked folks who worked with their hands,
Moments were precious to me as I did not know if I would return any more,
But I took the memories with me, they gave me strength while in other lands.
I now ask myself should I return to visit The Ship to recall what I remember,
I am told that my bar stool has gone and many modifications have taken place,
The local fisherman and farm hands don´t return and other clients now enter,
But I would hear the echoes of them and my Dad and remember all with grace.




Take my hand and gently show me the way,
Side by side we´ll take our time, and walk not run,
Across valleys, over the hills, somewhere far away,
To find a place that we can call ours under the sun.

In the Scottish Highlands off the beaten track, I can see a room,
On a beach with a view of the ocean where I could dream and reflect,
To surely escape and be me, feel safe there and hope to visit soon,
While thinking from an old world perspective that I prefer to select.

To walk on the beach collecting shells washed up on the sandy shore,
As I look down I wait for the sea to reach my path and touch my feet,
I smile because I feel close to a part of nature that I have come to adore,
Much of life originated in the sea where the past and future can meet.

Glens and lochs, stalwart castles, the Highlands, the shrill of the pipes
These are some of the memories that I will forever hold so dear to me
Craggy fjords and lofty cairns, the rugged north and rolling fifes
And windswept islands beautiful but battered by the wind and sea.

The dancing of the waves in a sheltered cove,
The flicker of the flames burning in a grate,
These are the moments that I love to behove,
I feel cast by a spell and can ponder my fate.

Life is like a flower, it blossoms and wilts,
As time leaves behind memories of youth,
Passing of seasons, an embroidered quilt,
But still to live a life that is based on truth.




While waiting to hear if I could help two Old Stoics stranded in Lima last year,
I remembered my time at Stowe and took a moment to recall and reflect,
So here I include a few short memories and thoughts that I hold very dear,
A time and experience in my life that I am grateful for and will never forget:…

While I walked from Walpole House to the Chapel at the start of each day,
On the left, fields and lakes, and the Corinthian Arch standing firm and fast,
In the afternoon I would return to play rugby or cricket there in the Stoic Way,
I knew I was surrounded by tradition with a vision of a future that would last.

While at Stowe, amongst other things, I lived to run with a desire to succeed,
With each step my first priority was always for my team and to be my best,
Along the cross country trails I had time to contemplate my plan to proceed,
With a focus that would serve me in the future during my life´s long quest.

While finally Ben and Poppy arrived back in the UK safe and sound,
To The Corinthian I wrote that, “all Old Stoics should never feel alone”,
When there is a fellow old school mate close by that can be found,
Standing by to offer support if necessary to provide a temporary home.




I threw my life to the wind when I left the sheltered coves of Fife
Not to run away, but to search for some different direction
That would determine my path and new opportunities in my life
To open my view of the world and make some corrections

To spread my wings with faith in the future whatever it holds
A feeling of freedom and hope to decide my way and move ahead
To reject restrictions and select a route and accept what unfolds
But above all to enjoy and survive life with care where I tread.

I left my thistle clad Island and proud tartans with a lot of regret,
I remembered the lochs and shepherds crofts in the Highlands,
The heather covered high hills and glens that I will never forget
My Bonnie Scotland with its purple shades that I call my Land.

The smell and colors of the sea, the crying gulls as they hover and glide,
An old man stooped, stumbling from the pub recovering to his senses,
Forests of pine covered in snow, the footprints of rabbits that cannot hide,
Majestic hills and craggy cliffs and green pastures separated by fences.

To dream and wait, to hope with anticipation of the sojourn ahead,
That always love and peace prevail with some luck and good advice,
To know what bridges to cross and the turns to avoid and not tread,
This takes experience and wisdom that needs years to suffice.

So I reflect now on the steps that I took and corners that I turned
And wonder how I could have further impacted my world, my life
On this journey where did I err, what more could have I earned?
To achieve my goals, to enjoy, laugh and learn how to avoid strife!

The howl of a wolf, a rooster´s crow at dawn, the call of a loon,
Haunting the silence around me while I have sometimes felt alone here,
I eagerly wait for these sounds and hope to listen again soon,
So that I can reflect and remember what has been just so dear.

The whoosh of steam as the engine goes by, the flap of sails,
Of times in the past while the world advances and leaves behind,
Chariots of times gone by that cannot be replaced and pails
With attempts to modernize and improve each one of a kind.

The whisper of the wind in the trees, the sea crashing on the shore,
These are the sounds that I love to hear and make me reflect,
On a life of memories with peaceful moments I will soon have no more,
Gifts of precious harmony in a world full of sadness and conflict.

As I watch the sun rise again and wait for it to set before the night
I feel the passing of time and the opportunity that was mine
To live a life gifted to me to face and enjoy providing a light,
That is as brilliant as the sun, the moon and stars that shine.

Where is my ship with sails set and where will she be bound?
Beyond the horizon where the sun and moon both rise and set!
And where angels soar and rainbows touch the ground…
A place where love, peace and happiness have finally met.

As sure as the waves come ashore,
As the dark of night replaces the light of day,
And time passes by and will return no more,
So is life as it rolls on it´s way….