The sea is in a foul mood.
Spirits blow across the Sound,
howl in the hollows
of dry stone walls

like countries drawn
on landscape paper,
borders scribbled in blue pencil crayon
a fall-off-the-earth edge
before water.

The path twists rock-hard, Achilles-swift.

At the bending crest,
rain stretches like washing on the line
from Hoy to the Black Craig.

Wind lashes my face.
I’m a martyr, of sorts,
trudging through mud that shines
in fading lilac light.

Gravestones cut the sky.

Day shines in waves
too animated for words

until country roads darken
and lapwings take flight.

From Slokt By Sea (Red Squirrel Press, 2010)
© Nalini Paul