Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 210: Coigach


An ancient Tarrasius stirs in a Scottish stone,
awakening distant Sargasso memories.

Living drill shafts, big sea-eyed,
silver rippled, bore down fast burns.

Anguilla migrates to mate and die
in deep Gyre spawning grounds.
Mini pearls drift in warm Gulf currents,
transparent larvae emerge,
delicate rowan leaf filigree.

Months pass, marine snow nourished,
gelatinous Glass Eel masses
gather along West Coast shore lines,
mercurial strands, pin-head eyed,
advance towards ancestral Coigach,
boulder scattered, glacial scarred.

Bubbling streams branch upwards,
divide, decrease, trickle, weave
around dark peat sedges,
sphagnum sparkling.
Freshwater tree flickers,
river meerschaum frosted.

Great eel tress procession transforms
clear sea silver, freshwater brown.
Long lace elvers, gold flecked,
unravel into blunt head gargoyles.
Catadromous carnivores slither
through decaying bracken arches,
desolate moors, moon muted.

This remote Scottish hillside is the centre
of everything and nothing, life is everywhere
and nowhere, belongs to everyone and no one.

Life begins here and ends here,
oceans and clouds are born here.

Those who migrate are compelled to return.


Alison Barr

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