BENBECULA

I have earth to turn 
on marigold fields
rife with raspberry,
willow and birch.

Fields where coyote prowl,
invited by stillness
and stories of livestock.

Fields lined with fattening maples,
resting.

Fence lines that held goats and swine and cattle,
the latter better than the former
and the encroaching forest 
that contained everything.  

Split by the river,
the reeling tributary
jammed with felled wood, 
steep cascades,
brook trout
and secret pools
feeding the pond,
fished out,
full of cat o’ nines and salamanders.

These fields, 
like a South Uist tartan,
lines of red and brown and black
darted with green,
converging in vibrant patches.
This land needs care.

Fields marked with headstones,
a barn for James,
a pump house for Jim.
Stinging nettle,
as good for soup
as it is poor for skin
is rampant,
apples too,
heirloom shapes
fit for late summer pie
and cider ‘til nearly December.

I’ve got earth to turn
and road to smooth,
trees to tap
and a back to break.

I worry about this earth
and I worry about myself,
my wife, my future, my family,
cast away from Scotland,
a land as green as the sea,
by force and persuasion.

And like those 
who’s blood we are steeped in,
who’s memory encroach our own,
who’s handwriting falls shy of identical,
we too shall forgo
the Shangri-La of this estate,
descend from the highlands.

Yet, 
unlike the echoing hearts
of our kin and clan,
willingly,
with hands able to move the loam,
crack the ledge,
shape the furrows
and reach the richness 
leaking from this rolling land.