Big winds was written on and about the island of Colonsay and describe the experience of island life through the eyes of a townie. I made my home on the island in my late twenties, got married, became a farmers wife, had children, ran a cafe and studio, got divorced and joined the fire brigade. These were all experiences I never imagined having as I stood on stage in the middle of Edinburgh in the life that went before.

I came across the island by accident, I had no idea of it’s existence until I applied for a summer job and landed in it’s windy harbour in my 27th year. I was immediately overpowered by this magical place, it was so beautiful, so wild, the folk were also a breed apart, stubborn, independent, resourceful, lawless. I was in love.

A tour around the island on arrival revealed the astonishing beauty and power of the landscape and I was a goner.

Of course life changes your view of everything and life on Colonsay while extraordinary was also tough in every way. You learn things about yourself good and bad. Don’t get me wrong fun was really fun, life was never dull but relationships can always put a bomb into the most perfect life. We had a few bombs go off and life changed.

These poems reflect that time, that life, those changes.


big winds

Big winds
My small son is struggling for breath
He is struggling for breath
But the world is not
The world is howling and roaring outside
My small son is blue
His lips are the colour of night
But the night is not blue
The night is the thick black of storm clouds
My son’s heart has stopped
The doctor is here but his heart has stopped
And the howling wind and the stormy sky will not let the planes come
The doctor has made my son breathe
He is sitting on my knee
Smiling and demanding toast
My son is breathing and demanding toast
And the big wind outside is still howling
howling and groaning but getting less
the wind doesn’t care if my son wants toast or dies
my howls and the winds howl are indistinguishable
but they are both lessening
we will fly kites again in the big wind
but I will not forget its impartiality

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