Sea-bitch, selkie, marriage-in-the-nets,
lady of it’s not my problem, fish-between-the-sheets,
father-smuggler, child-charmer, sister widdershins,
slant-mum to my unborn daughters, birthless otherling –
here’s a cup of death-brine in a cockle shell!
Down it, dear invention of my underwater hell.
Hang your spirit-corpse from a shaft of second sight
streaming from the rafters of my wedding night.
Miriam Nash spent her early years on the Isle of Erraid off the west coast of Scotland, where Robert Louis Stevenson’s family once worked as lighthouse engineers. Voices of the island echo through her first collection, All the Prayers in the House, published by Bloodaxe Books, from which Sister Widdershins is taken.
She is appearing at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival at the following events:
Heavenly Voices, 13 August