His drifter swung in the night from a mile of nets between the Shiants and Harris. My boy's eyes watched the lights of the fishing fleet – fireflies on the green field of the sea. In the foc'sle he gave me a bowl of tea, black, strong and bitter, and a biscuit you hammered in bits like a plate. The fiery curtain came up from the blackness, comma'd with corpses. Round Rhu nan Cuideagan he steered for home, a boy's god in seaboots. He found his anchorage as a bird its nest. In the kitchen he dropped his oilskins where he stood. He was strong as the red bull. He moved like a dancer. He was a cran of songs.
A poet who divided his life and the attention of his poetry between Assynt in the West Highlands, and the city of Edinburgh, Norman MacCaig combined ‘precise observation with creative wit’, and wrote with a passion for clarity.Read more about this poet
About this poem
This poem was reproduced on a postcard for National Poetry Day 2009. Eight poetry postcards are published each year by the Scottish Poetry Library to celebrate National Poetry Day and are distributed throughout Scotland to schools, libraries and other venues. The theme for 2009 was heroes and villains. You can find out more about National Poetry Day in our National Poetry Day pages.