Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 5: Uist


There is nothing here,
in all the wide ocean
to stop the wind
that frays the edge of the land.
On the foredune,
dry from the long sunlight and the sea breeze,
sand slips.
In the slack behind the dunes,
the brown bird lies low
in her nest among the grasses:
even here, sand moves, held in nets of buttercup roots.
When the storm comes,
sand flows like water, stings like hail -
air eating the earth -
small white houses
grip the soil of the machair,
one window gleaming all night long
to light the way home –
though some will not return.
Up on the hillside,
thin sheep graze on rocks,
and there the Lady stands
looking past the ocean
out to the furthest West
from where no one of us returns.

Angus Dunn


Continuing our tour of Scotland in poems, this one stops off in Uist, thanks to Angus Dunn. Our Lady of the Isles is on the West side of South Uist, on the western slopes of Ruabhal Hill Coordinates: 57.342731°N 7.360725°W

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