Poem Map of Scotland: poem no. 345

Writing about Tiree

Mining the landscape for words,
they’re piled for now above the tide
where, although they’re unlikely to get washed away
they are already drained of meaning.

This method doesen’t work.
It needs a painter
capturing in swift unbroken strokes
fine-stranded lady’s hair
ink washed, wet-on-wet,
and the bare bones of wreck, seeded in the sand
tossed there by Skerryvore..

And someone to properly explain
the stones with no beginning and no end
that come into their own
in the absence of distraction –
just the wash of surf and unimpeded light:
pink granite-banded gneiss,
a globe of sandstone smooth and fine-grained as an egg,
white marble flecked with green serpentinite;
each one fits cool and dense into a human palm.

Sue Bard

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