From the pier, the track lifts past the kirk towards the valley, where an old post road is dusty and hard as the Ridgeway in June. There is bog cotton, primrose and heather; there is silence but for the humming of bees, and stillness sits deep in the day’s saddle. A cuckoo calls from a wood beyond the Lodge as the sun sets down its blanket on Ward Hill and the ness is already a memory of chilled air. This valley is a chalice of midsummer light into which the island pours its mood, chuckling with the beck’s hidden water. There’s none to greet you here but sheep, no double inks his profile onto the skyline and raptors prey in vain for the lark’s brood. Plant your feet and feel the hard earth – this view accruing force by its isolation – as the path’s now dirty-pig white drops leisurely to the bay at Rackwick. Here lie awhile on the sickle strand, resting your head on the red-brown egg of a boulder. In this one-sided love affair, declare nothing but seen things, a burn’s low gargle and that breeze from the sound cooling your path to its crossing.
About this poem
Produced by the SPL for National Poetry Day (2022)