Northwords Now Issue 34

The FREE literary magazine of the North

The Leaving of St Kilda (1930)

by Stephanie Green

A fire in the hearth, oats on the table,
the Bible open at Exodus.  
We locked the door.

We leave behind our fowling rods
and snares, our looms, spinning wheels,
and ploughs:  our old way of life.

On board The Harebell, we sail
past the jagged humps of Dun which sheltered
our people for centuries from Atlantic gales.

How sheer are the cliffs from the sea.
Will anyone ever again lower
men on ropes to capture fulmars?
 
Hours to row, but no time by steamer -
the stacks, Lee and Armin are a maelstrom
of cries, glints, waves and wings.

Boreray appears to loom then sink.
Past Levenish, once our horizon,
the islands shrink, become a smudge

you would miss unless you knew where to look.
As we head for the open sea, the fulmars
haunting our bows, veer away.


Six Poems on the Leaving of St Kilda
Euphemia MacCrimmondPoem by Stephanie Green
I might as well be a widow (1900) Poem by Stephanie Green
I tell my husband I am pregnant and he sets out to make a tiny coffin (1891)Poem by Stephanie Green
The Boat Cold Poem by Stephanie Green
The Leaving of St Kilda (1930) Poem by Stephanie Green
Walking on Air in Gannet Slippers Poem by Stephanie Green