Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 65: Moniack Mhor

Sunrise from the Iron Age Fort, Moniack Mhor

This is a place of power.
I am standing on the prow of a land-ship,
having struggled up through gorse and bog and juniper
to reach this rocky vantage point
where my ancestors judged the weather
coming out of the west, across the snow-tipped
ranges, ghosting behind the horizon.

The whole landscape is awake.
Two scavenging ravens, almost out of vision;
one brown hare, up-wind, alert; a curlew calling the sea.
Out over the Firth the sky brightens
and clouds flaunt pink underbellies.
The mountain tops light up, peak by peak,
naming themselves in the old language.

This land rewards endurance;
things that live with roots and bones.
I am perched in it like a migratory bird,
though my heart reaches out into the far,
snow-covered valleys, flooding with light,
and the tidal surges of the wind over the pine forest,
sing in my ear like the ocean in a shell.

I turn my face full to the sun, and know that
the old animal still walks inside my skin.

Kathleen Jones

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