…here…
…the stories circulate like smoke…
A long time since…
…go here…

I attended a talk on the Poetry of Irish and Scottish Islands.  Dr Lucy Collins from the University College Dublin gave us samples from three generations of poetry.

An Island Man, by Jack B. Yeats (1907)

I learnt a new word: archipelagic.  Us islanders are not isolated.  We are joined, by the sea.

In the urban setting the isolation and solitude of island life becomes the mark of authenticity of a culture, returning to its origin.  The island is a place of peace in contrast to the city as a place of conflict.  The non-industrial states articulate an independent national culture, or a culture of the people within the British Union, a negotiation between a supra-cultural literature and the literature from the periphery.

One seems to wash off the dust of cities, the dust of belief.

I live at the edge of the universe, like every one else.

When the people move there, the island moves with them.

And when the Island is not nice:

They lashed him to old timbers
that would barely float
with weights at the feet so
only his face was out of water.
Over his mouth and eyes
they tied two live mackeral
with twine, and pushed him
out from the rocks.
 
They stood, then,
smoking cigarettes
and watching the sky,
waiting for a gannet
to read that flex of silver
from a hundred feet up,
close its wings
and plummet-dive

Law of the Island, Robin Robertson

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