Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 126: Badbea, Caithness

Badbea, Caithness: Coastal Clearance Village

This could be the hearth
that heats the widow
carding in its light.

Here in the cranny of a wall
lays the chaib* sweating
from the peat cut.

Under the slab of a sill
lays a bag of malt
hidden, a safe minding.

Here on the door step
Sutherland stands,
pipe in hand

dunts it against
that sleeping plinth,
and embers melt into pools,

lost within the bog
where the pipe, soiled with ash,
lays against his bones

that leach through
the granite cliffs,
seep into the scree

strain the sands
to the dawn sea where herring
are on the turn, once again.

A P Pullan

* a kind of spade

This poem previously appeared in New Writing Scotland 28 ‘Stone Going Home Again.’

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