Water has caught this place –
rivers split and trap houses
so they’re swimming next to barnacled cars
as cod leap up to line roofs.
Salt crusts everything – the grass crackles with it.
Kittiwakes nest on the windowsills
painted red to match their tongues
and girls’ hair is brown and shiny as seaweed –
their boats hover
just above the harbour.
Everything made of unreachable light.
Last Egg Collection
From here the sea
is a green ribbon –
and a horsehair plait
stop us plunging
white with seabirds,
laced with nets.
We fight the sword-beaks of gannets
for our snowy harvest
of eggs and feathers.
the empty houses
look like open graves.
‘Islomania – a rare but by no means unknown affliction of spirit. There are people … who find islands somehow irresistible. These born “islomanes” … are direct descendants of the Atlanteans.’
Lawrence Durrell, Reflections on a Marine Venus (1953)
She thinks of unhatched things:
eider weaving slippery nests
from the surf,
of skua and tern
when she strays from the path.
Some days she misses people
and sees them in the seals
strung out in lines beyond the breaking waves.
With a toe in the water,
she leaves rows of pleated shells –
and the trees filling
with a robin’s twisted
ribbons of song.
Charlotte Eichler lives in a village near Leeds but spends as much time as she can on Scottish and Scandinavian islands. Several poems inspired by her visits were featured in her debut pamphlet Their Lunar Language (2018), published by Valley Press in 2018. Her work has appeared in titles including Blackbox Manifold, PN Review, The Rialto, The Scotsman and Stand.