With a fire whipped ocean
And the boatmen’s song.
Voices in waves
Sail the morning winds.
Tumbling from salt spray lips
Rhythm and hymns,
Caught on wings of a guillemot.
In a theatre of fog
Music takes flight,
Rising, like a streak of mist
To face heaven’s door.
And boatmen weep.
Sing goodbye, to the waves,
Lost upon the sorry sea,
As day dies still,
And the boatmen sleep,
And the boatmen sleep.
And we sleep.
Everything is hushed, even the waves hemming the sand seems to hold their breath. Dawn is breaking and teasing the horizon. The world seems warmer. Tiny orange crabs scurry sideways into jagged rocks and now I am alone. I feel naked. Alive. All that I hold are my most intimate thoughts and a new respect for life.
Visiting the Maldives had been a distant dream of mine, since – well since forever. I had lost my mother seven months earlier. Her sudden departure from my life was not only tragic but deeply confusing. Life as I knew it had changed. I found myself searching for answers instead of comfort and could not see beyond the noise. Seven months had passed and I found myself frustrated. I spent too much time sitting on my doorstep, looking to the sky and searching. I found nothing. Waiting for nothing is the most desperate way to pass the time. You feel the outside expanding rapidly from your doorstep while you slowly shrink inside your own head. After receiving a small windfall, it didn’t take me long to find my escape. “If I can’t find you, I’ll try to find myself.”
I watch the sun climb. Shocking red and orange slices flash upon the placid sea. Blood rushes around my body; my head feels light and my skin tingles. I want to grab this vision and stamp it urgently in my memory; nothing had been or ever could be this beautiful.
Sunrise is followed by nature. The salt water and wet sand creep up and swallow my legs. Schools of fish swim daringly close to me examining by pale white limbs. I enjoy teasing them with my toes. A stingray skims the surface of the shore, round , large and flat like a piece of old leather being carried by the waves. I stand up and follow it until it disappears into deeper water. “Time is irrelevant. Time is unconnected to the world outside. The world outside is now extinct”.
I am walking. My island has opened up to people. Swimwear – bright and cheerful which somehow looks dishonest here. Every soul I see equally treasures the silence. I see the emotion on every face that turns toward me. Passion has touched their soul. Passion has touched my soul.
I find a spot under a palm tree. It is a light relief from the burning sun as the fan like branches shade my skin. A tiny lizard scurries up the rough bark and hides from me. I have stolen its place. I close my eyes and breathe in a smell of warm salty sea and dry foliage. It is the pure and clean smell of the natural world, stripped back to its rawness, undeveloped and unpolluted. Unspoiled. All of my senses are kick-started. I am alive.
Hours pass, or perhaps it is just seconds but the next thing happens alarmingly quick. The brilliant blue horizon turns charcoal grey. In the blink of an eye the neighbouring island vanishes. The atmosphere feels instantly charged. Excitement and fear presses heavily on my skin and I watch in wonder as the sea trembles and spits out her waves as she chokes in the dense air. Colossal globes of water pelt from the heavens onto the world below. All at once I am alone again. Noise booms in my ears from the waves and rain and the intense screeching from the unhappy bird high above my head in my palm tree. I am motionless. I watch the storm gather itself, teasing my island with its wildness and ferocity, and I long for it. My heart pounds in my chest, my ears scream as I suck in the humid air and hold it as my body wretches. My eyes explode with tears cascading from deep inside my broken heart. I clench my fists and my eyes stare ahead, finally seeing myself through my blurred vision. I sob for my mother, I weep for the loneliness I feel without her and for my uncertain future.
Almost as quickly as it begins, the rain stops. The world stops. Only for a moment.Like I am caught between when time began and when time ended. I am nothing but am everything. The sea throws its last wave onto the wet sand then lies still, tranquil. Silent. Before my eyes is a florescent sea. A bright shocking bath of glory against a cruel bleak sky.
My eyes dry. The grey moves along the horizon until all that remains is a flawless sky that never ends. The sun lies down on the clear and rested water and time resumes.For the first time in a long time I understand. My close encounter with a tropical storm has awakened me. Like the storm, my grief is fierce but beautiful and will eventually pass. I am alive. I can be whole.
©Eilidh G Clark
Mid April, calm yet breezy night,
I walked in the dark and was guided by moonlight.
The world was silent and the only sound
were the leaves in the tree’s and my feet on the ground.
Alas I was tempted by songs in my pocket
And the picture of you that hung in my locket,
But I felt that a change had grown wild in my brain
Like the seasons were changing, and so was the pain,
A stranger had challenged my withering heart
Twas the first real arousal since we’d been apart,
I looked at a distance but fantasised near
and the prospect of new love sent shivers of fear.
But she clawed like a blackbird at passions inside
And I craved her like coffee like a moon and the tide.
She danced on my gravestone, she lay on my skin
And she started a bonfire that burned from within
But the night was so lonely and the stars became shy
As the moon rode the heavens and rivers ran dry.
I looked to the shadows to picture her face
But shadows are demons that laughed in its place
And leaves brown and crisp sung tunes to my feet
The drizzle of rain arose perfumes so sweet
And the dark was forever and my thoughts took flight
She kissed me so tender in all shades of night.
But the season was April and the time was ‘not yet’
And the moonlight was kind and my destiny set.
©Eilidh G Clark