Caught by the River

Anywhere but the Cities – Stromness

18th June 2016

A poem by Kevin Williamson

The bright orange beacon of the Stromness lifeboat helps no one

The harbour waters are flat enough to reflect on shapeshifting cumulus blond wisps of Hoy a jellyfish sun

A pair of lovestruck swallows in perpetual motion map out the contours of slippery stone walls rusted iron and seaweed ropes

No great auks nothing more exotic than a herring gull chest puffed out strutting the quay like she owns the place and maybe she does

The red stain of death on her yellow beak a reminder to the shell of a former crab that hunger has a price and each soft sound has a note to itself

A trawler’s carnivore shudder death rattle smoke inaudible insects with peedie wings smaller than my most careless thought of you

I wonder if these creatures too can hear the gentle persistent lap of time

Here in Stromness on this day the 11th of July summer adagio in blue


Taken from #UntitledTwo: Neu! Reekie! – a follow-up to last year’s immensely popular #UntitledOne. Edited by Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson, the anthology includes work from the likes of Jackie Kay and Kathleen Jamie, as well as a download of an accompanying compilation album. Available to purchase here.

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