Dsonoqua on Lewis, The Outer Hebrides
By Neile Graham
14 January 2008
She loves the salt wind. Her familiar. All else
is foreign. Even Eagle here is not her own,
the tilt of his wing hauntingly strange. All angled
rock and soft old hills, gentled unwild green.
Old. Everything here is so much older than old.
She's a cranky tourist here. Exposed
with no forest to back herself into.
There's weather here and plenty of it
changing by the moment. There's
the comfort of rain. And Oo hoo ooo
the lovely wind races over the moors
untangled by trees. At the stones
of Callanish it taps each shoulder
to make the constellations spin.
You'd think they were trees.
See it grab the moss on the Truiseil
Stone teasing it in the way she knows.
But lone children here are hard to
find and her basket is empty. Not
that it's often full at home. Nothing to do
but to sit and chat with the Old Woman
of the Moors. Exchange tales around
a peat fire, burning sweet but not cedar.
And what she really loves is that
Old Woman is made of hills.
It makes her feel small and lovely.
But this land needs more dressing.
Needs moss and trees. Needs Raven
to steal them some sun. Needs a bore
of eagles. Salal. What ho for the
transported tropical beach, what ho
for sheep and waves. Time to stretch
her hands to the fire and ride the
ranging winds home. How cedar
has missed me. Alder. Hemlock. My fir.