Alan Murton, born in Truro, Cornwall, leads a local creative writing group and attended the poetry workshop led by local author Jenny Alexander at our Heart of Conflict exhibition at the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, in 2017.
He was inspired by this photograph of three fishermen who went back to sea during the war years due to a shortage of younger men and wrote the wonderful poem below.
Truro boy born but home and away now and then
So what now draws me to these three fishermen?
My father would surely tell you with some pride
That it’s back to his roots, where he used to reside.
Mevagissey born to a family fishing skipper
Though his father left to sail a tea clipper.
Sailing the oceans made him move to this town
Where he docked to put most of his cargo down.
His brother had drowned in a torrent of spray,
Not the first or the last fisher to perish that way
So, to please his grieving mother, my grandfather Jack
Left Mevagissey for ever and never went back.
So open sea fishing is deep set in my roots
But I know I was not born to fill his boots.
I tried it once in the sea off St Michael’s Mount
And landed more mackerel than I could count.
A picture hangs on the wall of my den
Of a wartime mother with six of her children
In the each of the top corners are insets two
My father a soldier and a Petty Officer – guess who…
Poem by Alan Murton