Inspiration from a remote island
Tiree is a low lying island located in the Inner Hebrides.
It was visits to this small, lightly populated, Scottish outpost that inspired Julie to write seven poems.
These are gathered in a collection called Land Below the Waves.
Today we feature the title poem.
The Land Below the Waves
The archivist explains that Nancy
was really Ann, using her Sunday name.
Ian is John and Marion, Sarah.
The world is upside down and that’s all right.
In the land below the waves
the beach is a boundless hour-glass.
The ferry rolls in, rolls out.
The people roll off, roll on.
The wind’s in charge of the clouds
and so, the sun.
A storm of lapwings explodes
from corn, driven by ancient
sounds, old assignations.
The grass is having a field day.
A seal pretends to be seaweed.
Or is it the other way round?
Gaelic chicken is a leg on a bed
of haggis with whisky sauce.
Doctor and priest are invisible.
Yet everyone speaks their names
They tell of a man who rode his horse
through night and came home missing an arm.
In the co-op, as we buy sliced bread and milk
the islanders stare at us because we’re strange.