“Girl on the Cliff,” Augustus John, 1936, WikiArt.

How does one escape nothingness? Island
Wasteland, dying community, abandoned
Stone cottages, endless chores, footpaths
Rising into fog-shrouded rocky heights,
Sunless perpetual chill, distant sheep bells.
Am I the only one who realizes this island
Is dying? Clothes on my back, I, Willow,
Leave, as ancestors did 1000 years ago,
Erecting standing stones, briefly breathing,
Disappearing for all eternity. Same fates
Await me, my family, all we have, known,
Clifftop abyss, unforgiving crashing seas,
Rotten rope, bare feet, boys falling, dying
For single guillemot egg. Single thought
Etched into my brain:  mainland. On clear
Days, I can see snow-swept mountains of
Scotland, some say bad omen for islanders,
I rejoice, singing songs, promise of new
Life, worth death risking, seabirds circling,
Passing other outer isles, I’m pushing east.

Written whilst listening to Donovan’s “Hurdy Gurdy Man.”
Thanks for reading.  

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