The Stars Over Torquay

Ah! The seven hills! Can you name them?

Let me try. There’s the Capitoline, the Palatine, the Quirinal …

No! No, stop! I don’t mean Rome. I’m talking Torquay, here.

Name the seven hills of Torquay.

And there was silence for a day.

And the man said, “Show me the hills, and I will name them.”


Now the first hill was the hill of the inauspicious birds.

And the man said “This hill is not like the others:

I will not call it a hill. I will call it Tormohun.

It is ruled by the Sun.” And this was the first hill of Torquay.


At the second hill they found the head of a man.

And the man said “This man is not my father.

I will not call him a man. I call him a caveman.

He is ruled by the Moon.” And this was the second hill of Torquay.


The heights of the third hill were crowded with people.

And the man said “Who or what do they worship?

I will not call it a valley. I will call it Plainmoor.

It is ruled by Mars.” And this was the third hill of Torquay.


Southward at the fourth hill their way was barred,

Barred by the tales of a giant, the giant who pulled down

The rocks and the cliffs. And the man looked at the sky and said only

“It is ruled by Mercury.” And this was the fourth hill of Torquay.


To the west they came to a grove of great oaks.

And the man said “This is a good place.

Let the people come here, live peaceful in Chelston.

It is ruled by Saturn.” And this was the fifth hill of Torquay.


Now they heard the great roaring of engines, the sucking,

The blowing. And the man said “This is the place of arrival.

It deserves a new name. I will call it The Terminus.”

He laughed as he said “It is ruled by Jupiter.”

And this was the sixth hill of Torquay.


Then the man said “I am tired. I need somewhere to rest.

Show me where I can lie down to watch stars

Dance over my head. I will call that place Ellacombe.

It is ruled by Venus.” And this was the seventh hill of Torquay.


Now of all the towns that are built on seven hills

From Rome to Bristol, from Ceuta to Seven Hills,

There is none that has been named as these have for you.

Now you can name the seven hills of Torquay.


© Edward Aldous 2019


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