1st Prize: John Foggin

At Tarskavaig

Washed up on a rucked-rug  shoreline
with floats, fish-boxes, trawlermen’s  gloves,
fertiliser sacks, kelp, clots of wool,
the cockle –pickers. Peat-cured, with ruined teeth,
long, dirty nails, eyes as dark as iodine.

They tinkers. Och. says Effie. You’d do well
look to the barns, and count the spades,
and what did they ask you for,
those women, old coats belted with rope,
rubber boots patched with gaffer tape,
hair like seaweed, when they tapped
on the windscreen, brown as selkies.

For a light only, the bright ember,
blue smoke blown on the wind, the spit
of rain off the sea, and thanks we’re away
down the road and done with the day,
with turning stones, and bladderwrack,
browsing the cold shore for cockles,
to fill a knuckly net.....iron, amber, cobalt, rust.

What’s to be done with Tarskavaig tinkers
who come up out of the peat or the sea?
And when the light goes, where do they turn?