top of page

Stroma: A leaving & Returning

Mandy Beattie

Stroma: A leaving & Returning

The Boy James on the road over
flirts with the Pentland Firth
Escort of orca & humpback

whales are half-moons leaping
in white-tipped waves & fidgety
air. The Boy James bumps into

black tyres. Thick rope flung
hung loose-hipped round
its mooring bollard. Spilling

its embargo-cargo - Class of '61's
daughters & sons onto the quay
An auk's whaup herald’s homecoming

through isosceles glass teeth
of the scarlet phone box
The black receiver a pendulum

in a Nor' Easter — But & ben's windows
the third eye on hiccoughing doors
& scalene cobwebs. Fallen-arches

& slate are sheep pens, runs for
hillocks of sharn & guano in
scunnered box-beds. In the tool

graveyard outside a window
a mangle sits in sunlight, its black
rust-iron handle a closed parentheses

A vintage of wheels of verdigris
& rust: cart, tractor, car; Stainless
Steel taps & soup spoons in whins

Buoys are soil-plugged
blood-grapefruits & radishes
sat beside a bleached beached

yole. Half-eaten stern folded
accordion pleats. The Boy James
unfurls; casts off in burnt orange

sunset, its petted lip a diptych
Harbour porpoises click & whistle
seals beach. On the road back

Yole: Traditional Stroma fishing vessel
Published in, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, 5.10.22; Nominated for, Best of The Net, 2024.
Please note that, with regret, the original formatting for this work, alternate verses juxtaposed right and left, could not be maintained for website display.

bottom of page