Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 317

An Uamh Bhin

Fingal’s cave
A volcanic cathedral
Risen out of the Hebridean Atlantic
Staffa’s solidified lava, contracted and fractured
Fashioned into honed hexagonal steps and lofty basalt pillars

Lightly landing on the precarious jetty void of day trippers
We followed the mystical path of matte black hexagons
Guillemots and gannets for company
Greeted by the great doorway
A gash in the pilaster rocks
A vast vestibule,
stranger than
Sagrada Familia

Transfixed
Senses enthralled
This cavernous basalt basilica
With its eerie echoing emerald liturgy
Walls and ceilings lined with intricate carvings made by the sea

Magnificence beyond belief, mystical concertos of crashing, sloshing waves
Luminous green water stirring like a velvet cloth, slashed with foam
Iona’s Abbey framed in the preternatural doorway

Curiously
Coloured fresco ceilings
Like glorious bygone Byzantine mosaics
Uamh Bhin – the transcendental, supernatural ‘melodious cave’.

Amanda Barge

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