by Samuel Tongue

The ferry has brought me this far,
slow, rocking gently on its patches

of salt-rust, its broad bellyful of cars.
Cormorants are drying their wings

like dark angels resting from the hunt;
humpback mountains fall over

themselves to fill the horizon,
dusted with snow and ancient

words that have turned to dry bracken,
or are caught, mirrored in the loch’s dark shimmer,

reflections of how this place was once thought into being,
strange and somehow familiar, guessed at, untamed.

Later, along the wet coast road,
I watch seals blubber themselves onto boulders,

heavy on bellyfuls of fish, and envy them their balance,
the way they rock gently on the point between two worlds.

Samuel Tongue is a widely published poet with his first full collection, Sacrifice Zones (Red Squirrel), published in 2020, which can be bought here. He also has two pamphlet collections: Hauling-Out (Eyewear, 2016) and Stitch (Tapsalteerie, 2018). He held the inaugural Callan Gordon Award as part of the Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards 2013. He is project coordinator at the Scottish Poetry Library and in addition, holds a PhD in Religion, Literature, and Culture and lectures at the University of Glasgow. Website: http://www.samueltongue.com and Twitter @SamuelTongue

This poem was first published in Issue 12, which can be read in our Archive.