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This month, we have Bert Biscoe reading his touching poem about Cornwall’s capital city, ‘Trurra’.




On three sides Trurra’s a bowl, rimmed by farms,

Scooped out, as if by a grabbing fist,

Rounded by the flowing waters of her three rivers,

Plunged into, south, north and west by hand-cut roads;

And in from the east, day after day,

Running the gauntlet of crooping curlews,

Swilling about the razor red legs of herons, so still,

Sweeping forth ‘n back across the shining mud,

Rides in, rides out, the poking, searching tide,

Delving into the tips of delta claws,

Swelling and shrinking under foot-smoothed streets!

Three Rivers they English would’ve called ‘un

If we hadn’t a-been here to say’t proper,

But we was here, gossiping and trading,

Doing a bit of fishing, assaying a bit of tin,

Carding fleece and weaving carpet,

Way before the time when they, on fine horses,

come sightseeing and laying down the law,

and Trurra it is; a close town by a worldly port.

It’s in a bowl, beneath the frost, and in the morning,

Looking down from Kenwyn or Tregurra,

With thick mist resting like suds on steamy water

And they three sputnik spires upwards pointing,

Tickling the chins of fleeing clouds, ee d’ look

For all the Cornish boys ’round the world

Like nothing less than the washing-up

In a very Georgian sink; till the sucking sun

Lifts the dew, and the river’s breeze push up the mists!

Then, and only after a chorus of crows and gulls

Have skittled the nightly silence aside,

Out rings the old town clock, bong, bong, bong,

Seven times, seven times ‘n a quarter,

Till curtains part in windows like the Red Sea

And eyes d’ look up, struck, as at the crack

of Moses’ staff upon the setts of Front Street!

Under the town clock, as her seventh echo settles

Like silks into a breeze-stirred pile,

Grey wigs and dark robes fall on heads and shoulders

As the ghosts of clerks and magistrates

And the spirits of a half-a-thousand Mayors

Drift in infinite dance amongst the shadows;

And down in the bowl, at the ford of five bridges,

In the haven of Treyew & Moresk,

The old body of Trurra incarnate

D’ rise up again, like Laz’rus, like Spring herself,

To be ready, prepared as a scout,

For everyday business in the everyday way.






If you enjoyed ‘Trura’, you can read more of our Cornish themed poems here, and Bert’s last offering ‘I remember’ hereJoin us next month for more in our poetry series.

Vyager gans Geryow (Bert Biscoe) lives in Truro. He is a poet and songwriter whose work draws on his interests in history, politics, social justice and language. He represents the people of Boscawen Division on Cornwall Council. The Division was formerly called ‘Moresk’ – an unbroken link from civic administration to the hurried escape of Tristan and Iseult from the vengeful wrath of King Mark – Bert tries to invest Cornish values into the demand of modern life. His work is fun, and best read aloud – which he does whenever the opportunity arises, especially with fellow Cornish poet, Pol Hodge. ‘Living in Trurra’ he says ‘means that there is a constancy of running water beneath your feet – there are two clocks which ring the hours dissonantly and out of step – a good environment for poems to flourish in the cracks and shadows. Nowadays, the mullet listen attentively in the lee of the Old Bridge’.