From Rathlin, blades of light
make the dark darker
swinging across the water
to penetrate as far as the stripes
of Kintyre or the flashes
of Islay – a pin-point
geometry to plot
and calculate distances.
Probing the thickness
of weathers, they splice ropes
of signals to moor boats
to the safekeeping of darkness.
And I, too, keep watch as if I need
to hold my course to what can’t be seen.
Landfall in Co. Donegal: 1826
He treasured what he brought back to his treeless Thoraigh
from the big island off the coast,
where their boat fetched up.
From time to time he fingered its smooth surface,
the knobbly cup; when no one was looking
sniffed it, recalled the texture of the trunk
its bulges and ridges, the fissures;
the gush of wind in the branches
spiralling down the leaves,
their dazzle of copper and gold,
how he’d scuffed them with his feet.
In his pocket, he sensed the potential of oak tree
taking root, feared to plant it because
he didn’t want his secrets growing through the leaves
scattered over the ground.
Rebecca Gethin lives in Dartmoor, and is a tutor of creative writing. Her publications include a novel, Liar Dice, and two collections of poetry. River is the Plural of Rain was published by Overstep Books in 2009, and A Handful of Waterwas published by Cinnamon Press earlier this year.