Wednesday, June 24, 2009

It is big sky...

Orkney / This Life

It is big sky and its changes,
the sea all round and the waters within.
It is the way sea and sky
work off each other constantly,
like people meeting in Alfred Street,
each face coming away with a hint
of the other's face pressed in it.
It is the way a week-long gale
ends and folk emerge to hear
a single bird cry way high up.

It is the way you lean to me
and the way I lean to you, as if
we are each other's prevailing;
how we connect along our shores,
the way we are tidal islands
joined for hours then inaccessible,
I'll go for that, and smile when I
pick sand off myself in the shower.
The way I am an inland loch to you
when a clatter of white whoops and rises...

It is the way Scotland looks to the South,
the way we enter friends' houses
to leave what we came with, or flick
the kettle's switch and wait.
This is where I want to live,
close to where the heart gives out,
ruined, perfected, an empty arch against the sky
where birds fly through instead of prayers
while in Hoy Sound the fern's engines thrum
this life this life this life.

Andrew Greig
from Staying Alive (Bloodaxe, 2002).

. image by me


  1. two thoughts...

    1. lovely words, even lovelier photograph.
    2. how on earth did i end up in dirty/smoggy l.a.?

  2. That gave me goosebumps (the good kind, not the scared kind!)

    Don't forget to let me know your address fmjstainedglass (at) aol (dot) com

  3. beautiful pairing of words and photography.

    in the dry humid southern usa, these words brought a cool breeze.

  4. Why is Scotland the most loveliest place in the universe so that even when you live a bazillion miles away (in Mississippi or Pennsylvania) you wish you were home in Edinburgh? And the very knowledge that there is a house for sale on Blacket Place, two houses away from the one in which your gran used to live and where you learned to ride a bike and where you first saw a heron and caught a toad and where you pulled weeds for the first time, makes you squiggly in the stomach?

  5. Fantastic poem and pic.I have that book-must search it out again.


play nice.