Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 68: Isle of Harris

Na Hearadh *

Whisper her name,
she is island,
sheep-littered, stone-wracked
she cries the wild Atlantic
to her door;
cradled in this crook of sea,
she is the last land,
nothing more
all the way to Canada
and winds that scream off Labrador.

Sing her name
for the music,
for the lilt of tongues
and the tilt of earth
against sky:
three-billion-year-old rock
bursts her skin like bones
bleached to pity.
Black-water peat bogs
sigh in chorus
to this riff of crochets
down a hillside.

Remember her name
when you wear her,
wear the Clo Mor tickle
of tweed that will outlast
your scant three score,
that creeps beneath the skin
so you will never forget;
she is the itch you have to scratch,
the catch in the throat,
the echo you strain for.

*Gaelic for the Isle of Harris, Outer Hebrides

Shirley Wright

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