Thursday, 19 May 2011

The Call


This poem is about my love for the Island I call home. It takes the listener through the four seasons of what I believe is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The final verse is inspired by a line from the musical ‘Bard in the Hand’ by Ken Fletcher. It tells the story of a young Sarnian* who left the Island in search of fame and fortune in Shakespeare’s Globe. Ken wrote the lyric;

“Wherever we may roam; Sarnia always calls us home.”

Guernsey’s population is only around 67,000, despite this I have met Sarnians in Hong Kong, the USA, Australia and within the Arctic Circle, not to mention a good few in between. We are truly a nation of wanderers.

Given the opportunities the rest of the world has to offer it is perhaps surprising that so many of us return to the Island to settle down.

Perhaps, given our connection with the sea Guernsey has its own Sirens calling its wondering mariners back onto the rock.

*For those of you that are wondering; ‘Sarnia’ is the Roman name for Guernsey and Guernsey people are called Sarnians.

The Call

Ragged granite sentinels tear at the hearts of the huge Atlantic rollers driven in by the gale.
White horses charge towards the shore, spume flying from their manes.
A thunderous roar heralds their approach, and then, the deep muffled thump as the foaming mass explodes against the stone wall.
Spray is hurled into the churning grey sky before falling back in a sheet which covers the road and the wall, again and again.

The mournful sound of the fog horn breaks through the shroud of fog which lingers on the morn.
Water chuckles gleefully in the douit which runs beside the narrow lane as it flows to the sea.
The Fog burns off, Primrose, Bluebell and Buttercup bejewel the hedgerow and ducklings paddle in the shallow water.
Birdsong fills the quiet valley as migrant and resident alike celebrate new life in harmony.

Narrow paths thread through the undergrowth, clinging to the rugged cliffs.
Campion, Thrift and Gorse abound, their colours, a riot amongst the myriad of greens which clothe the steep slopes.
Here and there outcrops of granite adorned with splashes of Lichen erupt from the Bracken to bask in the warm sun.
Heady scents, vibrant colours, the sound and taste of the sea and the touch of the warm sun assail the senses.

The Jewels of the hedgerows and cliffs have faded as the bracken and trees rust.
Now they bear treasures of a different kind as Blackberry, Rosehip and Sloe are picked by beak and hand alike.
Fallen leaves litter the paths and lanes and smoke from the bonfires drifts on the cool air.
Hedgehog, Field Mouse and the distant church bell celebrate the festival of harvest as the nights close in.

There I stand in the busy airport, eyes closed, listening.
From far away, across the ocean, I hear a call,
A call I once was told would come;
For no matter where I roam, Sarnia always calls me home.

John Carré Buchanan
06 June 2010


  1. Like this - voice, poem and visual - love it.
    Have to say you have a great narrators voice.

  2. That's a wonderful poem and gorgeous pictures, all so evocative of Guernsey.
    I'm Ken Fletcher's daughter and am sure he would have been thrilled to see his words included in this beautiful piece.

  3. Naomi, Thank you for your comment. Knowing that my writing touched someone today has helped me through a very dark patch this evening. I hope some of my other poems can remind you of Sarnia too.

  4. Hi - Ken Fletcher's other daughter, Sarah!
    (You know me from "Open Mic" poetry evenings.) My sister emailed me to tell me about this just hours after I had discovered it!!
    I was listening to a tape of "Bard in the Hand" yesterday and I found the song "Sarnia, Sarnia" evocative and moving: just like your beautiful poem. That you quoted Dad: thrilling!

  5. Sarah,Thank you for your kind comments. I would love to hear the tape; as I suspect it has my brother and me singing the parts of Juliet and Lady Macbeth. (no laughing please, I still remember the words) I am pleased that I have managed to write something which has bought good memories to you both.


I really appreciate constructive feedback. If you are able to comment it would be most grateful.


Free counters!

Popular Posts

Blogs I Enjoy Following

  • Father - *To the face I can’t quite picture* *To the voice I can't quite hear* *To the smile so lost in memory* *To the moments you were near* *These are the though...
    21 hours ago
  • Believe It - Lester Queripel - Borrow from tomorrow. It could bring you joy or it could bring you sorrow. It could become a noose around your neck. You'll need to keep it in check. It's pa...
    1 day ago
  • Summers Dream - You came to me on a sweet summers dream Passing through worlds of magic and men, A dragon fly guarded the gate between You’d sing and dance in this beautiful...
    1 day ago
  • Vertical Society Bullshit Jungle - Dear Japan I am tired Of vertical society bullshit This place is a jungle Balding managerial lions Lead prides of chuckling hyena recruits To the watering h...
    6 days ago
  • Scarborough Fear - If you should go to Scarborough fair There's a field of heather and thyme Where the breeze shall whisper the name Of a girl that used to be mine In this...
    1 week ago
  • DREAMS OF AVARICE - The Bard is taking a short break so, in my absence, here’s a lengthy gangster tale in verse to keep you going. It’s influenced by the B-Movies of my younger...
    1 week ago
  • Memories - I remember after moving here, all the family loved to visit. It was the place to make memories. Paddling in the river. Feeding the ducks. Watching the lam...
    3 months ago
  • Stop, Drop, and Roll - *I didn't realize how long it has been since I have been here to write* *Change often seems to create a sense of suspended animation* *where the outer wor...
    7 months ago
  • This Job, Not That Job - *What I'm reading: The Trouble with Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon* *What I'm listening to: Incomplete by James Bay* Isn't it fun to spend your birthday ...
    1 year ago
  • ... gloriously exciting! - There is something gloriously exciting about anticipating ones next Chad assignment, sitting in the back of the relative comfort of seat 34J, the the dron...
    3 years ago
  • Time-Out - Every now and again in life we come across a bump or hurdle. It can come in our relationships, our finances or as in my case, health. Right now I've been...
    3 years ago
  • thumbs up - it was a battle. looking back i don't think we ever had a chance, but you don't just give up on a young man in the prime of his life. we had to try. he ...
    3 years ago