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For the Towns of the S.E. Coast

The Poets & The War XXXIV

By Edward Shanks
The War Illustrated, Volume 3, No. 58, Page 392, October 11, 1940.

Since Britain rose above the seas,
The seas have beaten on her shore,
An endless battery prolonged
For half a million years or more.

The waves at shingle, sand and chalk
Have clawed with endless enmity,
And still the island rests secure,
Mistress, not vassal, of the sea.

We shall not fear this punier foe,
Though he with poisoned talon strike,
We hold the coasts. The fate of all
Who come against them is alike.

Remember, though, the fabled bells
Of Dunwich, that, below the wave,
Rung for the victim of that war
Out of her ancient, sea-drowned grave.

Remember, now, the little towns
On which the raider throws his hate,
Which stand the brunt and keep our land,
Impregnable, inviolate.

They shall not sink, like Dunwich, down
Under a final conquering tide,
But when those sullen waves recede,
Shall rise again, new-glorified.

When from our skies these storms are swept
And earth and ocean both are free,
Margate and Ramsgate, Folkestone, Dover,
Your bells shall sound above the sea.

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