The crag like a humpback beached
in solitude, the cloth of sea mist
weathering her skin. I am lost
without a map, compass, and just
that cairn – a mocking grey finger
seemingly marking a path – stacked
by whim not purpose. Below this cairn
gleams the moraine. There the wind
plays its tricks, sucks me in until I hear
the prayer of hands that lay the first stone –
a burial rock to lid the ghosting of bones.
The cairn sings – Cuiridh mi clach air do chàrn.
Chant and prayer, prayer and chant,
at the end, do we all clutch at words?
Myself? I have a whim to scrawl
a caveman’s bison. The stone I grasp
listens, waits and weighs my purpose.
I hear the whale songs of all those lost
in oceans of ice, a glacier grinding the rock
to crag and tail. I lay my hope on the cairn,
a gesture, a school’s mumbled prayer.
Copyright © Phil Wood 2015
Phil Wood works in a statistics office. Enjoys working with numbers and words. Recently published work can be found in online publications London Grip, The Recusant, The Stare’s Nest.