The hill and cross in Rousay.

A Poem to the Orkney Island of Rousay, Scotland

Some see their story in the firs,
in budding green and fallow earth.
I see my story in the stone
which creaks and grinds and gnashes slow,
for life is long and living short.
We measure years by walking miles
and days by every crawling inch.
Atop a hill in lush Birsay,
a hill denuded, pocked like clay,
a cloister of small and rounded rocks
huddles beneath a wooden cross
that bears a figure eight in rope,
and no name or word appears;
just that infinity sign in rope.
If all etched letters fade away
and only monuments remain,
then what will say that we did dance
badly, that we stumbled when we ran?

Yes, yes, we built, but did we kiss?
this nameless thing beneath a cross.

His smile was buried with his teeth,
Life is long and living short.
It rolls and halts and gathers moss.
Life is long and living short.
The mind will pass before,

our body after,
and the word before the stone.

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