Poetry Map of Scotland: poem no. 416

Bey’s Day

Kittiwakes waken the morning
high cry, plaintive song and
my sleep-smeared eyes
blink in the dawn
I give thanks for daybreak

Sea-slap waves on sea-stack columns
I curve into my stone sanctuary
carved, cached in the red cliffs
home is bare, simple, solitary
I give thanks for home

Child comes with loaf, fish, smile
I smile too, and together
we prepare the eating place
one small table, two small bowls, three small gifts
and I give thanks for each mouthful

Noon brings the rain
and the chill and howl of wind
I fold myself into my cloak
bow my sodden head
and give thanks for this wild, good earth

Woman comes aching, weeping
I’ve known her sufferings before
we hold hands and gather comfort
the balm of herbs and hope
I give thanks for the kindness of creation

Evening comes quiet, firelight and prayer
behind the cliffs voices raise
village anger drips into my peace
and shatters the dusky light
I give thanks for blessed solitude

Bright moon and scattered stars
make brilliant the waves in the night
I cannot sleep, though it is late
and I am cold, weary too
Yet I give thanks for sleepless delight.

Vicky Allen

Note: St. Bey is the patron saint of Dunbar.

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