Declan Whitney – The Spirit of Clew Bay

Declan WhitneyDeclan Whitney’s background is in marketing, graphic design and copywriting. A Dubliner, he has been writing occasional poetry for more than 30 years. He writes in a wide variety of formats and styles and tends towards light and humorous subjects, observations on life and areas of natural beauty, particularly in the West of Ireland.


The Spirit of Clew Bay

Climb up Croagh Patrick, stop awhile
Then set your easel firm and square
Your canvas primed, your brushes fine
Your pallet colours rich and rare

Now paint the fields in deepest green
And trace a laid and coppiced hedge
Spread wide a shoal of glacial isles
And stitch a strand along the edge

Then brush the bay in Prussian blue
And daub the turquoise sea so clear
And cast a curved extended beach
To either side a gold veneer

You’ll hear the whispering of the wind
Beneath your dome of sapphire blue
Your scattered sky, your calming clouds
Your salmon shades and herring hues

With steady hand delineate
Where Cleggan meets your cirrus skies
The gorse star-splattered at the base
The silence full of evening sighs

Now listen close and listen well
And hear the harvesters who died
And see their hooker swept away
And all who lost and all who cried

Then see the hungry on the isles
Their planting more in hope than gain
And watch their anguish at the blight
And know their fear and feel their pain

Touch in the seals and dolphins now
The terns and snipe, the gulls and geese
The sailing boats, the lobster pots
The fullest sheep, the warmest fleece

Upon Clare Island Granuile waits
And watches out for friend or foe
Her phantom walls, her shadow fleet
Her gaze on all who come and go

Now you have captured in your art
The spirit of this sacred place
Clew Bay in all its majesty
The sea of life, the isles of grace.


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