Poetry Map of Scotland: Poem no. 298

Dalmore Days


Somewhere
between Shawbost and Carloway
the slow skelp of weather from the west
surrounds us.

The mood of the sea shifts:
one minute basalt black Atlantic,
the next cupric Caribbean green.

The river is a slick greasy with peat
or a crystal clear flood.

Rocks exposed long ago
by some ancient convulsion
worthy of a Calvinist apocalypse
slowly erode in winter storms
or bake in summer suns.

One thing remains constant: a child's delight,
reckless, capricious,
where events of epic significance unfold
and are then instantly forgotten,

unless, perhaps, unexpectedly recalled, much later
during a sudden reperfusive shock of memory
in a brief moment of clarity in old age,

and pure, un-self-conscious joy matches the forces of nature
where everything ebbs and abates
yielding to everything else
and yet endures

somewhere between Carloway and Shawbost.

"I want time to stand still" mother says, while father
tries to gather every precious moment in his camera
like a beach comber,
the futility of his task alleviated by a grace
that gradually exerts itself in this place.

Peter Clive

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