Northwords Now Issue 37

The FREE literary magazine of the North

Edith

Upon learning of the death of Foula crofter, Edith Gray 1918 – 2015

by Jonathan Drew

Edith, always about her croft in blue coat, is no longer
Chasing us with a shake of her rake shouting,
"Keep aff m' ay!"
Edith with a glint in her ee for a man, is no longer
After me.

A little old lady to look at -
But she was sheep upon shoulders;
Peats cut and stacked;
Herring strung to dry
And a chimney kept smoking.

She was Foula of old;
A sentinel in her little sea of hay.
Like the Kame, a steadfast
Cliff of content towering
Above the frenetic and Atlantic surges.

Like her scythe, it cut me clean,
When I read she had died.

Edith, always about her croft in blue coat, is no longer.
But I see her there still, standing proudly;
The last of her stacks
Neatly netted and weighted with stones -
Winter stock.