It really was a struggle, hard-going over clods of peaty turf,
sodden, marshy tracts where long ago the silt had gathered on the
                                                                                    waves’ retreat,
rifts between the craggy shoulders, long visited twice daily by a sea
regretting such concession until at last “this much, no more”,
an island, just, slowly drying out but destined always to remember
the reluctance of its birth, the water giving way to a bracky wilderness,

and up above the valleys, barely bleakly visible, on the outcrop ridge
where now the long brown cattle graze the turf accumulated down millenia,
crude stone enclosures, where echo still, through openings in the wind,
the rough-hewn clamour of a brutal life, starvation hov’ring, death
from beast or cold, and life scarce snatched through earth-bed struggling
screaming through the salty gale and on and on again again…

and somewhere in the distance those exultant yellow blooms hold
the possibility of light, sun’s proxy down the ages, wild iris, rainbow flower,
were you always there?  were your reedy flagge-leaves twisted then for rope,
snaring deer and binding cradles for those same hard-won lives?
a sea of yellow sentinels, sun-burst of primal energy to mark another year…

now I go, and somewhere further on, another and another,
                                                                           towards a restless sea.

Note: the island here is Luing, one of the slate isles of the Inner Hebrides  

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