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On William Cashen

by Bernadette Weyde

This poem is about Manx Folklorist William Cashen who was custodian/guardian of Peel Castle and who died whilst on duty there in 1912.

The old man ceased and in the pause,
We watched the smoke against the hill,
As in a dream he told his tale,
As in a dream we listened still.

His sea-blue eyes though dimmed by years
Saw far beyond our time and space,
And child-like faith in unseen things
Had smoothed the furrows in his face.

His simple creed – to do his best –
As guardian of that treasured pile,
Whose ancient towers and ruined choirs
Stand crowned about Peel’s holy Isle.

And leaning on his staff he sat
Beside us in the sunny nook,
Embrasured by cathedral walls
Whose stones were all his sacred book.

(source: the poem is by ‘Cushag’ (Josephine Kermode) and from William Cashen’s Manx Folklore (1904) which was postumously published)

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