Excerpt from The Holms of Woodwick: A Legend of Shetland
To W. A. I.
Talk of your mountains in the North so free;
Tell of wild waves, or of the land-locked voe:
Conjure me visions of a wide-flung sea
Where guardian Dreadnoughts in procession go.
And tell me - in that calm and measured tone -
Do hearts beat strong, and pulses steady, there?
Or do your hardships chill you to the bone,
And leave you like your hillsides, scathed and bare?
Deep in the flinty rock of primal birth,
Deep in the weather-bitten, tree-less soil,
Broods there no germinating mother-earth?
No tardy prize to bless the labourer's toil?
Can you but show me true affection's flowers
Blooming like sea-pinks on a wind-blown crag,
I'll brave with you the winters stormiest hours,
And build beside your cormorant and shag.
Do human hearts, where shag and skua give.
Brief elemental loves, show less or more?
Some day I'll find the island where you live
And seek my answer on its foam-flecked shore.
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