Return to Oban

56°24.919’ N, 5°28.531’ W, 25.09.2019

The intermittent hiss
Of radio static
Calls from far
Belfast and Mallaig
And the lilting voice
Of Julie from the Stornoway Coastguard,
The roll of the sea
Along the Firth of Lorn
Coming into Oban.
The babble and chatter
Of the water off the stern
Through the hull of the aft cabin.
We’re on a dead run
And Skipper’s happy,
His log-book entry reads:
Sailing goosewinged – kettle on!
And what could be better?
Except perhaps
A wee skliff
Of something sweet
To go with it.
But strapped like a tumour
To the aft rail
Crammed into
The starboard locker
Like some Pandora’s
Puppet on a spring
Our haul
Of pollution:
Plastic, in every shape and form
Gleaned, beach-cleaned and hand-picked,
Sacks and sacks
Of the stuff.
Items from the everyday
To the unidentifiably arcane.
We’re heading back now
Full of impressions
Drunk on sea and sky
Yet sobered
With the realization
Of what our
Presence in the world
Is doing to the world.
Flung together
We have learned
So much
Not just
How to be together
In this tiny space
But perhaps better
How to be
In the greater space
Around us.
For seven days
We have listened to
Taken in
And lived
Alcuin’s
Dream message
Of the sea.
Now it’s up to us
To spread the word
For:
We are his
Apostles now.