You can be counting days on North Uist:
the Westford Inn, nice pint of Skye Red,
waiting for a plate of chips and scampi
as Eilidh stacks the logs up on the hearth.
Probably the table at the window round
the back, your favourite, where you gaze
out upon a grey dusk and a wild grey tide
both hoving in. A dense smirr on the sea
masks your view across to Kirkibost, then
stilted conversation, possibly, with some
seasoned local boatman whose taciturnly
growled invitation to convene again after
the weather clears, at least enough to sail,
you will not disregard. In this impossible
life you are fine, footloose with sea legs,
and loitering around some gusty harbour
for a fortnight to await a crossing is just
the way you roll. The imagined morning
breaks and you make good those plans,
hike down to Carinish under a mottled
cirrostratus canopy, locate the tiny jetty
built from corrugated scrap and pallets,
where your aptly white-bearded seadog
waits on a 22-foot skiff with a sputtering
outboard. You watch the silent Hebrides
recede. Are you running for something
or from something? How do you know?
You’ve done the homework on the maps
but never trained that diligence within
and these waves’ mesmeric persistence
becomes your ultimatum. Time to think.
This is the opening section of Hemisphere, a long poem by Pete Green, published by Longbarrow Press as a 48-page ‘short book’, with illustrations by artist Abi Goodman. You can order the book securely by clicking on the relevant PayPal button below.
More than 60 previous Featured Poems can be accessed via this index (many of these pages also contain audio recordings and short films).