Tuesday, September 30, 2008

On Rathlin Island

The merest headflick is effusive greeting.
Stoic faces carved by wind and tide.
O’er the heather, windswept lambs are bleating.
O’er the sound, the mainland stretches wide.

Eyeless houses stare down to the pier.
Rope lays coiled beside a peeling wall.
O’er the hill, the old light, bright and clear,
Proudly bathes the island’s purple shawl.

Mist rolls in like one grey canvas awning.
A stout man hauls an old boat up the beach.
The harbour will be quiet until morning,
Save for just an errant seagull’s screech.

No lights gleam from the mainland. No stars glisten.
The crashing sea, the island’s rasping breath.
Old men cock their heads aside to listen.
Women fear the grasping hand of death.

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