January Beach, Isle of Mull 

Cold whack, bladderwrack. 

We’re down at Uisken with a fishbox,

filling up on seaweed good for veg. 

Dad strolls, in search of lava bread,

but only finds the barnacles

and, disappointed, must make do 

with the low tide's chunks of marble,

Iona green, and the aluminium bones 

of an old cremated caravan. And I‘m amazed 

by the long, low foreshore wall, 

missed before, by blindness, mine, 

of someone not quite looking. 

Dad looks and sees the laboured edges 

of some poor crofter’s rent to dukes. 

I hope, we hope, he fled to Glasgow, 

liked it, or at least enough, 

and never did come bobbing back  

to the cold whack, bladderwrack.

Seth Crook taught philosophy at various universities before moving to the Hebrides. He does not like cod philosophy in poetry, but he does like cod, philosophy and poetry. He was inspired to write after a long illness and hasn’t stopped since. His work has recently appeared or is about to appear in Other PoetryInk Sweat and TearsSnakeskinThe Journal, AntiphonThe Centrifugal EyeMessage in a Bottle and Northwords Now. 

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