Iona

by John Stocks

There would always have been beauty.
The potent benefice of sunset
Would have fallen on the blood-red tide:
The dismembered limbs, hacked heads
At Martyrs Bay
And on the bronzed faces of tourists
Clicking Canons back to Mull and Oban
Or the faces of the grieving mothers
With sons lost in the mud of Flanders.

At twilight, pagan and pilgrim
Would feel the same creeping sense of awe:
The hermit frying sprats in his cave;
A pious monk lost in cerebral prayer;
Or witches knitting poppets out of hair.

The roar from the ocean’s mighty swell,
The majestic indifference
Of gannett, sea eagle or sonorous whale
Would resonate with all.

There will always be beauty here.
Even when the spoken word has died
And the cottages have crumbled into dust,
The wind will call her name.

And one morning from the edge of time
A new, tempestuous sun will rise.

Iona sunset

Iona seascape

Seascapes at Iona, Scotland


Copyright © 2009 by John Stocks
illustrations researched by the editor

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