“Staithes Fisherman,” James Charles, 1899, WikiArt.

We are earth, and earth has become us,
Deep-rooted trees, branches extending
From antiquity, beyond island families,
Outer Hebrides, primitive boats of sail,
Seafaring clans, migrating tribes invading,
Inhabiting, blood meadow-seeping, bones,
Weapons silence resting in cold bogs. All
This I, Willow, sensed, lying on grassy
Fields, felt within my marrow, images
Revealed in sunlit passing clouds.

Are Hebridean islanders descendants of
Ancient clans? Different customs, cultures,
Viscerally connected by highland paths
Meandering to seashores, fishing, sailing
Boats, nets – as if little from countless
decades changed, except new faces, ways
Modern. Yes, our dead are buried on these
Grassy slopes, prayers, tearful songs,
Quaint chapels, small cemeteries, wood
Coffins, grave gifts, islander’s final resting
Place, flesh, bone dark-earth committed.

On this solemn day, we mourn passing
Of, Raibert, elder fisherman, life family-
Dedicated, husband, father, boat-building,
Strong hands and heart enfeebled by old
Age, hard labours. To him we turned in
Needful ways: extra hands, woodworking,
Tool-borrowing, sea-steadying soul, who in
Early morning hours, passed away, working
Whilst others took first tea, stirred porridge,
Scarcely gazed upon dawn, hardy life once
Bright-burning, now twilight-turned.

At times, fiction is based on actual happenings,
life and death on foreshores. Thanks for reading. 


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