Northwords Now Issue 35

The FREE literary magazine of the North

New Moons over Westray

by Lydia Harris

Moon in the Forge
The men fill their pipes, their faces wax in the glow. Teemo unbends a maul plough, hammers the buckled bolt flat. Moon is a face in the doorway.

Moon of the Well
Between Clifton and the mill Teemo demmles  the tin pail in the rock wall. The cows in the byre glippit it up, every drop. Moon trembles at the thrust of their tongues.

Moon of the Maul Plough
She comes when the clay gets all packit solid and Teemo chucks the muck on the top of the ditch brae. Moon slinks through the clumsy shadows.

Moon of the Drift Block
Where the anvil sits held fast by nails. Sea-steeped. The tide long-gone that once oozed between its grains.

Boat Moon
‘The Thrift’ passes between Eday's Red Heads. Look, calls Marcus, light open!  The arch in cliff slides like a door to let the day in. The first page of ‘The Moon Almanac’. This is where the fish must lie.

Groundwater Moon
Enters the seams under the house, steeps the rock, floats single grains of sand
between the footings. It means no harm. Smoothes the slow stone. Knows the lines.

Moon of the Buckled Bolt
Forced out of true when the gate slammed shut. Teemo sets it on the anvil, swings the hammer with the flowing tide under the Scaun in his arm.

Diviner’s Moon
When he speaks to the wires they jerk. He begs them to judder at the stir of secret water. Other days, he takes the pain out of folks.

Pulley Moon
Teemo ropes it to the cupples. The endless chain swings through the roof space.
The wheel sprouts spokes thick as rowans, the cog squats like a weatherman inside his metal house. It lifts the engine. Catches the frame in its hook, hoists the car on its side. Moon coats the brake casing.

Sale Day Moon
Teemo drags the anvil to the cart. It’s the size of the bull’s head, horn at one end. Face and shoulders, no eyes but a Pritchel hole, no mouth but a Hardie hole.

Moon of the Deck Cargo
The tide’s flowing. Twenty batons with a strap round them lie some piece, sodden and weet with sea geese.

Moon of the Byre
Teemo says to the kye, ‘Don’t forget her, she hangs behind the day, waiting’.