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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sweeney on Eigg

dark sky
darker sands       to circum-
ambulate       the island sets
the compass points spinning      catches
the Massacre Cave      the standing stone
off-guard      they scamper ahead of me
to their places

gewgaws of       island
kingdoms      a necklace with no chain
a god’s dowry scattered      the water-
colourist’s palette       greens purples
browns       upended veining
the burns       sprouting
a rainbow from the tap

millstone of the centuries
turning       improvident demons
of cloud draw blood       from the peaks
the edge of the candlelight too       is jagged
my bothy’s welcome shall be defenceless
only the      boarded-up house
locks its door

select aperture
select brightness       and contrast
each morning       the neighbouring island
presses its face      to the window
each afternoon      the ferry lowers
its tongue       to the pier
a cow at a salt-lick

arrowheads of gull-
prints       fallen in showers
have been       discovered since
the last tide      excavations
continue      the sands’ archive
of forgetting       remembers all
my forgetting

storm-felled trees
our shelter      capsized hulls
by the pier      my life-raft
a curse blows me here       and drives
us hence      my birthright island
roots me       in earth my feet
have yet to touch

my bothy
has no mirror       the curse
is incomplete so long as       I cannot
see my face      a few poor whimpers
escape us       lose themselves
in what       the sand sings and
singsand       singsand

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