Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 128: Iona

What happened to the words on the journey north

I spent some on the calm greenery of Hampshire,
heard myself being pedantic with a few
as we passed Nine Barrow Down
where de Havilland propelled, in this quiet place,
the twentieth century into action.
Motorways lulled me for a long time.
I began to wax lyrical at the Lakes, and at the border.
How were things in Ecclefechan?

From then on I was all gab
and it was only after I’d left Oban,
sailed to Craignure, driven across
the fat foot of Mull towards Fionnphort,
ferried over to Iona,
cycled as far as the north end,
walked the last hundred yards beyond
the last gate and the unchancy looking bull and the last fence
in time for the sunset
with the coast of Mull to my right
and the sky westwarding from there
like the hugest stretch in creation
over Ulva and Gometra and Staffa
and Fladda and Lunga and the smaller bits of Treshnish beyond
and the Dutchman’s Cap
that I became at last
speechless.

Joan McGavin

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