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.
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.