Why do I venture alone on rocky hills?
Rugged heights, stone picking my way,
Summits oft cloud-lost, hard-pushing
Gusts against my face, place where
Wind sings of ancient Scottish ways.
“Be still, listen, child,” mother used to
Say. Trembling heart, what music could
I hear? She knew I preferred free-running
Rambling brooks, cheerful tunes, sunny
Days, grassy paths at water’s edge, peat
Stacking with Papa preferred to clinging
Mists, cold numbing young fingers, toes.
Decades later, I am widow woman with
My Willow, half-grown daughter. Winds
Shifted round sharp peaks, mournful
Sorrows of Scottish island hardships:
Potato crops failing, back-heaving fishing
Nets, labours of mining pits. Sanctuary of
Mountaintops, meandering footpaths, we
Live in seashore isolation, saga-singing
Men and women, children following in
Their stead. Hard boat-work, cold-crashing
Seas, our men lost. O! How I long for my
Strong man, loving father, to hear his wind-
Voices again, along these desolate heights.
Thanks for reading.