Echoes of War

"Echoes of War - Loch Ewe"

I painted this picture in 2004: pastels on granulated cork board. I forget who bought the original, somebody local I think, but the subject proved too much for my usual tourist cards and prints clients. So we soon stopped reproducing it.

This was before the upsurge on memorial interest, before the erection of the monument now standing pretty well where I stood to sketch this picture.

But next week, 7-12 May, is locally a special week of events highlighting 'WW11 and the Arctic Convoys' - fundraising for the Russian Arctic Convoy Museum Project. Lots of exciting and interesting events associated with those darkest of days from 21st August 1941 when the first of the convoys set sail from here, bound for Archangel. This whole area was garrisoned off by the military so most of the memorabilia has perforce to be narrative or through rare, sub-legal photography. The organisers have done a truly remarkable job, as this coming week will amply demonstrate.

Anyway I've dig out my small, unrequested contribution. Pictures and Poems I call my micro business. This is the poem to go with the picture ...

Echoes of War

Where Loch Ewe opens up to Mother Sea,
at Cove, still stand these crumbling testaments
to world war two, to all those brave-heart men
who faced the elements and the enemy

In groups of fragile ships they left these shores,
last sight, this wounded rock of Wester Ross;
to leave behind the crying of the gulls as they
sailed north to Russia and the Arctic wars

Although this place of peace now holds scant trace
of what had come to pass those years before
and rust away as may the swords
we shall recall the poet’s words:
We shall remember them
long after all the blood and all the bedlam;
long after time has healed the wounds
of heart and rock, and all war's echoes fade away.

Bryan Islip
January 2004

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