Martin Hayden p.2

Martin Hayden

Landfall, Iona
Duns Scotus on Iona
God and the Corncrake

Martin Hayden’s introductory remarks about Iona
Landfall, Iona

In hypnotic succession the waves
doubly powered by tide and wind
don't tumble ashore
but go their own way down the Sound,
each with a soapy glaze.
An intimate thunder in the ear,
the skin and hair thickened with salt,
the brief warmth of speech
blown to kingdom come...

The ferry's emerged, rolling and pitching
half-a-mile south to the marker buoy
where it stops. Not indecision:
avoidance of side-on to the swell.
A diagonal reverse brings it our way.

Now it's a hundred yards offshore,
but churning backwards, the pilot
visible at the wheel. This far for nothing?
No, he's lining up, coming in fast
bow ramp lowering over water.
It's hardly touched down before the one car on board
accelerates away, the foot passengers
scream in a wash of surf, steadied
by crew in their orange gear.
A few figures hurry on, the ramp shifting,
the engines striving to hold
against the one-way muscling of the sea.
We glance at the ferry backing out,
shut the van on gale and spray,
head inland for island shelter,
the landscape and sky still voyaging.

Copyright © 2020 Martin Hayden
Martin Hayden reading Landfall, Iona
Duns Scotus on Iona
(Haecceity ... from Latin haeceitas, which translates as 'thisness'-- the discrete qualities, properties or characteristics of a thing which make it a particular thing. )

He was never here, but
look at that seal:
she dips her wet head,
her shiny flank
sliding in green shallows.
You scan the waves
where she vanished
but it's far to the right
a head surfaces.
A long stare
from the cloaked eyes,
sea-gear eyes.
You could just as well say
the sea is hers
as she is the sea's,
but saying so
look! you almost miss
her flip-turn curve
lithe as the inside of a wave.

Copyright © 2020 Martin Hayden
Martin Hayden reading Duns Scotus
God and the Corncrake

Sword-like leaves in clusters, the iris beds
quicken and grow dense from April into May,
attracting rows of visitors with tripods:
theirs heads, their 'scopes and cameras point one way.
They lift the whole paraphernalia
each time the rasping ripping-velcro of the call
through stealthy unseen weavings shifts its stall,
their crouching backs undeterred by failure.
I stroll up to the Abbey on the sward:
in front, four, reckoning what they've heard
comes from the patch below them by the shore.
Imagine the fervour and commotion when they know
behind them there's a plain and doughty bird
on its favourite evening stone in open show.

Copyright © 2020 Martin Hayden
Martin Hayden reading God and the Corncrake
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