70. The Spirit of Captain Harle

My senses reach back through my fingers

Salt, sea, ships

Carrying cargo

Indonesian mahogany

Ivory from Africa

Portuguese Port

The mahogany made into balusters and newel posts

Shaped for the staircase in Rainham Hall

Captain John Harle’s home in 1729

Carved curlicues

twisted tendrils mimicking barley

my fingers caress the hogback curves

on the newel post as it curls its way down

to the entrance hall

patination and an indentation of ridges

under the whorl of my fingertips mirror the

touch of Captain Harle, though centuries apart.

My view of ships across the marsh

now obscured by the railway wall.

unlike him, I cannot see

the billowed sails of coal ships

from South Shields

Nor other cargoes from across the world

I feel his presence under my hand

His body lies in Rainham church

His spirit returns through my touch

to Rainham Hall.


Story writer/provider
Mary L Walsh

Flag Designer
Mary L Walsh

Kinetika Artists

Landscape Character Area
Rainham, Aveley and Wenington

Thames Chase Trust, Pike Lane
Upminster, Essex RM14 3NS

01708 642970

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