Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 273: Raasay

Rainy’s Wall
Tatooed by lichen, a wall struts
over twisted rock and the thin soil,
dips and buckles – almost –
with its burden of stone, a
bulwark, bully, and boundary,
that it is too high to leap over.
It divides the living and the dead,
field from pasture, and the bond
between the horizon and the sea.
With a handful of grass in my hands
I felt the past cut across my palms.
The loops of grass were like the lock
of your hair I once held between
my fingers. Those precious black strands
I let go to give the wind its due.
Now, the heavy lifting work continues.
Beetle, moss and fern are busy
in the crevices, and the soft ground sinks
with the slow justice of this wall’s decay.
Mark O. Goodwin

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