Coll

55°37.269‘ N, 6° 31.239‘ W, 22.05.2019

From Loch na Droma Buidhe
We strike out north-westwards
Out of the Sound
To Coll.
Close-hauled,
Eight knots,
Sunny but cold.
Coll welcomes us
With turquoise waters
And basking seals,
Lobster pots
And workers’ houses,
Squat, thickset, whitewashed
In the sun.
An old man’s arthritic fingers
Struggle with a phone
To take our picture.
The island itself
Is flat, wind-blasted, haunting.
A church with a warm,
Wooden-vaulted ceiling
And worn prayer-books
Offers a view of the sky
As a suitable substitute
For a stained-glass window,
As if to say:
Behold
All of this
– And barely anything more –
Is yours.
Back then, the islanders
Had to work for
The Laird.
Now
The rich man’s house
Has a sign –
Silhouetted against the
Most magnificent view of Skye
Saying
Please respect
Our privacy.