Night awakened, wind-blown waves, island
Crashing, white-crested, foam-streaked,
Rolling onto our shores. “What, again?”
Mother asked, cottage dark-cold, winter
Refusing give way to spring. Cloud-swept
dawn, grey wall of waves as far as eyes
Could see. Seabirds darting, fishing boats,
Steel-hull trawlers, lights aloft burning,
Pitching, waves-pounded, pushed for
Fish-thick Atlantic deeps.
“Raw days ahead,” Papa advised, another
Peat block on warm-glowing coals, sparks
Swirling, this morn even water seemed
Slow to boil. As he stepped outside,
Mother whispered, “By heart-sorrows,
Willow, we are married to this island.”
Notions never considered, shadowing-
Over my naive dreams. “For better or for
Worse,” mother began. “Richer or poorer,
Sickness, health, until death do us part.”
In silence, I sat with Mama, hand holding.
By her tearful words, I listened, understood,
Repressed feelings never spoken aloud until
Blustery morn, thoughts lost to moaning
Winds, crashing waves. “Is Papa to blame?”
I asked. Who else could it be? “No,” she
Replied, emphatic eyes. “Fate of islanders,
Not islanders in their heart.” Sips of tea.
“Willow, decide before too late, who you
Want to be, if you dare leave Hebrides.”
Like my father, I too left the cottage, for
Soul-searching on chilly hilltops, thoughts
Gathered, I realized island life from her
Viewpoint. Long-suffering, mother had
Sacrificed, given herself, daughter island-
Born. Yes, I walked in father’s footsteps.
Was it time to chart my own sea-course?
Would I awaken by ocean storms, find my
Years, life had slipped by? Such decisions,
Island-stay, or my mother’s wish, to leave.
Mother’s Day poem written whilst traveling.
What decisions will Willow make?
Thanks for reading.