Hebridean Camp: April

Do you hear the grinding of the stones on the shore?

What will happen when the tide is high ?

No - not thunder, the Atlantic roar

and the hissing of the water in the sand

the mad spray flying in mists over land


Will our tent survive the wind from the west ?

The canvas is old though the ropes be strong.

We cannot do more than lie still and rest

Listen to the terror of the sea

as it flies from the wind from out of the west

where strong men lie in the weeds at rest

- the horror in the cry of the sea.


It is talking to us is the sea.

What words - what judgement

Are we yet condemned?

This is the voice of more than the waters.

Waters and wind and sand and boulders

all roaring so dreadfully


Oh - stop it - you misery - you dreamer.

Put on the primus and boil me some tea.

No more listening to the voice of the sea.

But didn't you hear it then? - Just as you spoke.

What voices, so many, yet not in time,

conversation swelling in rhyme

to a roar, now a sigh as it dies.


There is only the saddening wind now

and us on the cold cold moor

in the quivering tent

of the old canvas and the strong ropes.


Put on the primus - man - I'm shrammed

and the air is damp.

Dry it

and drive it out with the heat of the stove.


Rain - listen - pattering above us.

Oh - listen, spattering our tent.

Now for the struggle.

Are the poles straight and the edges of the ground sheet

turned right in.

The night is falling black like sin

dropping with the rain from the clouds.