by Seth Crook
(Coll McLean was the ferryman from Mull to Iona for 52 years)
I’m local, yes.
not descending from Somerled,
not marching with the pipe band at Hogmanay:
but I can tell you the name of a beach
not used on any map.
I can tell you where
the rusty farming machines rot,
almost every one.
Blessed are the hay rakes,
blessed are the potato spinners,
blessed are the hiding places
of the Spring-declaring adders.
I know where you can cross the bog.
I know the quick way back from the pub.
I know where the old tin school was.
And where the old tin roof still is.
I didn’t cross to Iona
on the row boat of Coll McLean.
But I can tell you there was a Coll McLean.
I can tell you
where the hen harrier nests,
though I won’t tell you
where the hen harrier nests.