Read a Poem

Here's a new poem just 'published' (January 2013) in the windows of The Globe Inn in Dumfries as part of the Burns Windows Project, organised by Hugh Bryden and Dave Borthwick.  They do have a beautifu l Roncadora pamphlet available of last year's Burns Windows Poems, available from here for a fabulously reasonable £6 inc P&P.

Here's a couple of poems from my pamphlet 'Lost at Sea', published by Roncadora, and benefiting from artist Hugh Bryden's beautiful artwork. 

'Lost at Sea' is about my great grandfather, Thomas Gilbert Hunter Aiken, and how he left Shetland.  It's also about my own encounter with Shetland, and my increased understanding of my family's origins there.

A plane drones out of grey
gyring down to Sumburgh
over sand hairlined 
with threads of taing.

A mile out from The Knabb, a red
oil tanker blows against her chain.

Lost at Sea
A herring gull tears
on a roadside rabbit
at Lunabister.
Thin islands blow
like streamers off
the coast.
The custodian at Boddam
looks past me for
his view of voe 
and surnames lost 
at  sea.  Invisible 
from here, in haar, 
Garthsetters and Mansons, 
Leasks and Mouats.  
There used
to be Aikens at Ness, 
Aikens at Ellister.
Once they were on Burra-Isle.

I’m reading graves at Papil.
Rub tough rain of lichen
off grey stone. ‘William 
Aiken who with crew 
was drowned 
March 12th 1866’.
I straighten up to find
the view his widow had:
the stones, the green, 
the graves, the grazing
sheep.  Invisible
from here, the sea
is sweeping up the voe
between the Burras.

'Lost at Sea' was shortlisted for the Callum Macdonald Poetry Award in 2011.