Northwords Now Issue 35

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Seaton Cliffs, lowest water

by Beth McDonough

Ancient, Arbroath’s flairs rise, rock seabeds
paddling pool chain all the way to the tide,
strange as Pamukkale’s pockets.

Now this calm invites bathers, depletes
squally congregations of birds
shit-pewed at the Mermaid’s Kirk cleft.

Even the Deil’s Heid suns, grins
his so-benign side. Norway
seems only a tough swim away. But soon

little apple trees bend their crabbed
fishwives’ backs, thrawn as they claw
into cliff, crumbling out to Auchmithie.

No fools. Their bark remembers
sea’s harsher moods. They turn, face
brown-red fields, furrowing opened Angus.