Peninsula by Fiona Moore


From here you can see things further out

as if you were among them.

Oyster catchers’ yip yip yeeeble yeeeble yeeeble

echoes differently

up these stone cliffs, and the sea

sips and gurgles and tips

sideways into cave-slots. Mists fall and rise

and dolphins turn half-cartwheels that look like whole ones.

They make their own island, a patch of dark, disturbed water

in the sea’s white field.

You have left where you are without really leaving

and can go back

any time you want, carefully along the spine of rock:

there is no boat to catch

though the weather may yet catch you.

A peninsula off a peninsula off a peninsula

which, arguably, is off a fourth, a whole country.

Sea on three sides, far down

down from these green-lichened edges.

Stay long enough

and the sea will fall still further away.

The rock emerging off the island’s tall islets

will acquire little ones of its own.

Drapes of sea mist accentuate the islets’ bulbousness

like whales nose to nose.

Ripples interweave and the sea flexes its larger muscles.

You sit among sea campion, sea spurge and sea pinks

and dried lumps of sheep shit,

foam-light to hold,

nothing inside when you split their dark coating

but old grass smelling faintly of hay.

What a strange journey the grass has been on.

Don’t, don’t ever leave

before you have to.

A black-backed gull lifts out of nowhere –

face to face, you are both surprised.


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Fiona Moore's first collection The Distal Point (HappenStance) was shortlisted for the 2019 TS Eliot and Seamus Heaney prizes. She is on Magma's editorial board. She has been living in the Western Isles for the last year.