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Monday 19 January 2009

Musings on coral and poetry.....

I've been working today so no time to go out and about with the new camera. Though it's been a murky grey chilly day so I probably haven't missed much!

Over the weekend I was practising with some close-up snaps using my new camera and took a photo of some cold water coral that I picked up on the beach near the house in the summer. I think it's from a cold-water coral reef (merle?) out in the water between Graemsay and Stromness. You can pick up clumps of it on the "shell beach" on Graemsay. Though in reality it is coral that has grown around stones which eventaully get washed ashore. But I just love the textures and patterns.

Now to poetry, on another Orkney island website a reader commented about the appropriateness of a Seamus Heaney poem for describing an Orkney gale. I like Heaney's poetry but was unfamiliar with this one and had a hunt on the web for it (isn't the web marvellous?!) so here it is:

STORM ON THE ISLAND by Seamus Heaney

We are prepared: we build our houses squat,
Sink walls in rock and roof them with good slate.
This wizened earth has never troubled us
With hay, so, as you see, there are no stacks
Or stooks that can be lost. Nor are there trees
Which might prove company when it blows full
Blast: you know what I mean - leaves and branches
Can raise a tragic chorus in a gale
So that you listen to the thing you fear
Forgetting that it pummels your house too.
But there are no trees, no natural shelter.
You might think that the sea is company,
Exploding comfortably down on the cliffs
But no: when it begins, the flung spray hits
The very windows, spits like a tame cat
Turned savage. We just sit tight while wind dives
And strafes invisibly. Space is a salvo,
We are bombarded with the empty air.
Strange, it is a huge nothing that we fear.


  1. Really nice poem about life on a small island. Living on a small island is a wonderful thing. Infact, Richard Branson has bought a small island in the Caribbean just to spend his vacation
    haiku graphics

  2. Warmer than Orkney then! There are days when I wish ORkney was a few degrees further south for warmth. But then it wouldn't be ORkney AND would be a lot more crowded. LOL!

  3. I love the poem, and also your "gothic" shots. Nice church door, too.

  4. Thanks Pat. I'm having fun with my new camera! Lots to learn yet, but it's fun along the way.