“Desolate islands, edge of world, sea-jutting cliffs…”

What lies beyond obscuring blue haze,
Dark-cresting waves? Desolate islands,
Edge of world, sea-jutting cliffs, hard-
Headlands I call home, accents thick,
Sing-song, turn-of-phrase, no one but
Islanders understand. Impatient tourists
Bemoan isolation, rolling hills, roaming
Herds of shaggy sheep, road-blocking
Music of moving bells. There’s twice-week
Ferry, open cargo boat, small-windowed
Sitting place, ninety minutes enduring
Bumpy rides, foggy nothingness, bitter
Winds, slogging fist-hard cold spray.

More sheep than residents, why do we call
This island home? We have roots here,
History mingling pride and dread, austere
Hillsides, sloping plains, footpaths tread
By ancient peoples. We remember heady
Days, processing tonnes of fish, gutting,
Salting, barrel packing. We moved from
One-room stone cottages to twin-pane
Windowed homes, running water, wind
Turbines. Everyone I care for and call
Family has Norse blood, Saint Brigid in
the window, memorial to fishing father,
Son, brother, sea-lost, never found.

“Misty early morning walks, sheep shearing…”

What lies beyond obscuring blue haze?
Call of home, marrow-deep, clear and bold,
My mirrored reflection, Wellie-wearing
Woman, hazel eyes, braided flaxen hair,
Misty early morning walks, sheep shearing,
My love, comfort and completion, place
Where my sleeping bag remains, kettle
Whistling, tea steeping, hand-in-hand
Acceptance by all who know or care, my
Partner, companion, wedding rings,
Reason for enduring hard ferry rides
When working long mainland weeks,
Awaiting headlands, island home. 

For those who like old B&W movies, click here to watch
“Edge of the World,” 1937. Thanks for reading. 

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