Northwords Now

New writing, fresh from Scotland and the wider North
Sgrìobhadh ùr à Alba agus an Àird a Tuath

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The Quoybirse Stone

by Lydia Harris

i
a vertical stroke
a head butting the moon
a spell in a giant finger
a single tooth in a gaping gum
a gnomon, a line drawn
the dug-in never-surrender
stone-in-your-shoe  
the blunder
the lone reminder
immovable compass needle
four blank faces
a city of lichen sprawl
spy in the land
dumb dictator
secret holder


ii
from the fulmar’s wing
to the shock-headed stone

from the face of the moon
to the base underground

from the knot in the shroud
to the outstretched tongue

iii
before I wore gauntlets and bird tattoos

I swirled and frowned, I was Marin,
I was ribbed sand, I was rock face.

Before I turned into earth, before I was stone,
I was grain after grain, I was rubbed red raw.

Before I was tide out, tide in,  my double song
was wrapped in a salmon skin.
 
My voice was grey ochre, a sand nocturne,
washed up with a rennet pot and scallop shell.

iv
One of our faces gazes
at the rising sun.

The west wind
yammers our back.

Our growth rings
ooze salt between.

We speak the hill line
in the old tongue.

How our pit was filled,
how we were transported.

We want harden
for a winding sheet.

harden: linen

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