Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 132: Isle of May

Quartz Pebbles, The Isle of May

The boat shatters water
marble white as we
leap the humped backed waves.
Island, its necklace of breakers
attracts all, migrant birds , grey seals,
dolphin, porpoise, whale.
Today tourists visiting the lighthouses.
Solid as churches, their lights, horns,
warn, don`t hope to arrive
without a plan, don`t approach without
a reason. But who would come here
without a vision?

Pilgrims came carrying quartz pebbles,
sifted from landward beaches,
veined, smudged like the
surface of the moon.
Fairy firestones to charm the waves.
Buried in the dead`s grip they opened
the gates of paradise, planted as seed
in the corpse`s mouth its sprouting soul
could speak the language of heaven.

I pick one up for luck something
I sense I still need here. I hold it tight
for return, as gannets stream like
strings of pearls, wheeling spinning
silver crosses, playful angels
skimming the white winged sea.

Keith Parker 2014

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