Monday, 11 May 2020

Interlude 6—Skye

Fishing with my father.


Where I grew up some folk believed
the calm intelligence of seals
in human guise could walk the land,
except on Sunday
when a God so stern
he would not let the ferries run
held sway.
With usquabae the people talked
the ancient tongue of seers and poets;
so soft it made the wandering Danes remain 
an age before the sound was turned to screams 
beneath the redcoat's guns.

I remember fishing with my father
amongst the rocky barren isles,
wondering where the oily swell was from
while he read the waves 
and told me of a dream he knew
where viceroys and beggars strode 
across a scape of alien, shimmering beauty, 
and sacred rivers washed the living and the dead.
A vanished world not happily exchanged 
for this Atlantic cold.

In searching for that dream,
I ransacked Africa for gold and memories
and found dry hills and hatred;
I rummaged through the dusty wheaten prairie
where silent oceans lap the bones of dinosaurs
and found a rolling sky drowning in a 
distant waterless horizon.

I travelled just to leave,
and found in frantic quest a circle of escape 
ending nowhere. 

It was all so long ago and near forgot,
but now I live again upon an island
perched upon the ocean's shuddering rim
and listen in the quiet lonely nights
for the seals to call me home.

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