Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 69: Anstruther

Pearl

In South Island seas, Brander’s fortune was founded
Trading coconuts by the million, and black pearls
Filled the ships that sailed the mighty seas, he sent
Exotic goods so favoured by Europe from the Pacific
Pearl-shell for the swanky houses of Paris he gave
The pearl culture enhanced the treasures of the rich.

Tetuanui i reia i te Raiatea, her very name a song
The fourteen year old Tahitian Princess stole his heart,
Cut off from the aquamarine waters of her birth.
A woman of substance she bore him nine children,
An esteemed socialite, her parties were legion
The first lady of Tahiti, did Scotland proud.

On Brander’s death Anstruther gained the princess
In a tiny fishing village in Fife, she flourished
Married again she mothered three more children.
She lies buried in the parish churchyard faraway
From the turquoise lagoons, a paradise on earth
That Gauguin chose to paint in vibrant colours.

Leela Soma

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