Michael Manning is the eighth Manx Bard.

Each month, Michael will be sharing one of his poems with us, and letting us know some of the thoughts and ideas that inspired it.

This month his poem is inspired by the island’s national day, Tynwald Day.

The theme for this year’s Tynwald celebrations was History and Heritage and I was invited to write a poem along these lines.

I sought to include a sense of welcome as well.

There is much to be proud of in our ongoing democratic traditions, and much to celebrate in Manx history and culture.

And like all history, there are bits that we should be more ambivalent about.

A mark of a confident community is surely one that is able to look at itself honestly and to be proud of what deserves pride and critical of those elements that need to be renounced or changed.

Politics is always concerned with power.

If history teaches us anything it is how ruthless vested interests can be in protecting their privileges under pseudonyms of ‘tradition’ or ‘culture’ or ‘economic growth’.

Power, and particularly political power, can quickly become the domain of the rich, or simply the loudest and angriest voices.

This seems to me neither desirable nor necessary.

If there is a better use of power then its mark will be in how we treat the poorest, the weakest and the most vulnerable, both in our midst and in our impact upon the wider world.

If we can embody something of this radical democratic equality and bring about more justice, peace and welcome for all then we will have much to truly celebrate.

Tynwald Day by Michael Manning

Welcome, welcome to this hill,

welcome, welcome all that will,

eat and drink and have your fill.

We’ve welcomed Vikings, Celts and lords,

the fishers’ nets, the warriors’ swords,

the loaghtans of the crofters’ field

and those who ploughed the seas for yield.

The winds still touch the old stone cross,

the hidden glens grow tree and moss.

Rest awhile, and mend your loss.

We’ve welcomed tourists in their droves,

sly smugglers to our creeks and coves,

the money-men escaping dues,

the gamblers game to win or lose.

The winds still kiss the ancient shore,

proclaiming freedom’s better law.

A humble beauty needs no more.

But welcome more the voices here,

from parish earth the soil so dear,

voice of children, husbands, wives,

the dreams of all the common lives.

Heed their cushag-stubborn song,

that peace and justice might belong.

The winds still chant above the keeills,

the seabirds soar and dance their reels.

It is the simple truth that heals.

So welcome, welcome to this hill,

welcome, welcome all that will,

eat and drink and have your fill.