from BARDO

The stars are in our belly; the Milky Way our umbilicus.

Is it a consolation that the stuff of which we’re made

is star-stuff too?

– That wherever you go you can never fully disappear –

dispersal only: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen.

Tree, rain, coal, glow-worm, horse, gnat, rock.

Roselle Angwin

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

puffins on Staffa

Was it last year, or 2010, when my 'Islands of the Heart' group on the sacred Isle of Iona accompanied me on Davy Kirkpatrick's wooden boat 'Iolaire' to Staffa, home to Fingal's Cave, where this magical hour silenced us all into stillness?

Just proofing for the last time my new collection All the Missing Names of Love (IDP April 2012), and this is in it:

On Staffa

At first they come singly, specks of dark spume 
kited up from their rafting on the tranquil green-glass 
sea; then in their twos and threes.

We hold our breath, let the slow 
swell of the great Atlantic stretched to all 
the directions breathe us. 

On the western horizon a speck of dust 
is a trawler; and below, the wooden boat rounds 
the bows of the island and vanishes.

They crash land like parachutists with 
their orange feet, webbed as penguins’, 
asplay; rattle their wings in April air, 

and one by one saunter closer, clumsy, 
comic, their airborne elegance absent 
here among the blond grasses.

On the cliffs, above the plaint of fulmars, 
the puffins’ low chuckles creak like 
antique hinges. They gaze at us
where we lie inches away, we who cannot 
fly; they gaze from their strange exotic triangles 
of eyes beneath gelled quiffs, black brows 

crowning white cheeks; they with their stubby 
rainbow beaks against our landbound drabs. 
None of us moves. It’s in these moments 

that we remember the truths behind words; 
and recover an ancient longing; and our 
kinship, our covenant, with wild.

© Roselle Angwin

puffin on Staffa: Beatrice Grundbacher 2010

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