• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 01
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Three islands

I grew up on this tiny little island
set in the green and wide, loquacious sea.
I grew up in sight of a modest mountain
and plucked the apples from the apple tree.

I grew up knowing that the world could be
this paradise of insular delights;
this scene of greens and purples, blues and yellows,
where life pursued a free and easy pattern.

But then the waves rose in their ruthless heights
to make a houseless hulk out of my homeland.
I have since mended my philosophy
to match a life of long-remembered sorrows.

I grew up on this tiny little island,
not quite the quiet place it claims to be,
thanks to trade, tourism and the great powers –
the legacy of greed we all inherit.

My mother, flown in from a former colony.
My father, out of Anglo-Scottish stock.
Their lives heard times of music, times of war,
the better things in balance with the worse –

or so some surely said. Now, squinting back,
we cannot say the same. Just: lucky us,
to have made it here and now unscathed, safe
in the cruel privilege of what we are –


Three islands

mortals to whom the gods were generous.
My mother, not being told not to remain.
My father, not being made to march in time.
No faithful friend to smuggle me a knife.

This tiny little island, this design
of chance and strength, built on error and errand,
altered somehow in town and track and turret.
It does not care or notice who I am.

I grew up on this tiny little island,
a dot that barely figures on the map;
an age ago, they came to join the dots,
armed with knowledge and something for the children.

I’m paid well to escort you on your trip,
to where those crested seabirds’ nests withstand
the future. Dusk is the crowned headland, golden
above the harbour’s tiny little lights.