WHITBY Feel, between the illuminated harbour arms, what powers of life and death have passed – still pass. Watch – through that whalebone arch below the captain’s memorial statue – how the east cliff displays charged ruins: relics of the abbey of St Hilda – the Mother…. Whitby! – with its jet, its whipped silvers and soft golds; its one hundred and ninety-nine steps: where cowherd Caedmon, after one vision, became an estuary of song; where Lewis Carroll, strolling on rhythmic sand, rehearsed “The Walrus and the Carpenter”; where Captain Cook unfurled his need for expansive dreams; where Bram Stoker, absorbing the same force as Caedmon, Carroll and Cook, dwelt compellingly on blood; where fisherfolk, with mended green and orange nets, continually ply between the Esk and Northumbrian sea. Copyright © JENNY JOHNSON