Anomalously Tiree

Just a-roaming,
Just a-walkin’
Through the glens beyond Balephetrish Bay.
Straining my eyes
In the wind
Of the noon,
Whilst merely being stung
By the spray
Of the sea.

Aye it was an eerie day,
The silence
In the music
Was so
So deafening.

But my ear did perk
At the oddity of its quarry.
‘cause guzzling through the glen
On its way out to sea,
I caught the sound
Of a lone piper.

First I heard
The symphony
Of the wind and sea,
Accompanied by
Creation’s vigour and zeal.
Then the soloist pumped out a note
And the sound of the pipes
Swirled through the air.
The wind and the wind
Twirled their way
Down the valley
And danced together upon the sea.
I was left again joyfully stranded
In creation’s symphony.

But aye this wilnae be a surprise to some,
Och no.
There are others
Well acquainted with

The GHOST of Tiree.

He was a wild lad,
Adventurous you could say,
Loved his pipes,
Loved his dog
And cared for little else.

In the caves at Kenavara
There is a blowhole.
On a windy day, it spews
Its spray high into the air.
But at low tide
On a calm sea,
It is still enough for a wild lad,
His dog and his pipes
To slip down
Into the depths of the earth.

And that my friends,
Is exactly what
The lad did.

From the belly of the earth,
He struck up a tune
That rumbled the rocks
And awoke those that abode there.

With a gait in his step,
A sway in his kilt,
His pipes ablaze
And his dog at his side,
He embarked on the tunnel ahead.

They heard him in Heylipol
As he strolled the streets of Sheol and
In Crosspol the ethereal melody
Sailed upon the haze tacking across fields.
But it was Kirkapol
Where the locals
Heard another tune.

First one heard
Emanating from the earth
The tempestuous pipes.
A bark ensued and a
Scream followed
Paired with a conclusive yelp.

The pipes fell silent.
It was the kind of silence
That screams to be heard.
But no one heard it,
‘cause the wild lad
Was no more.

Later that day
In Milton’s monolithic bay,
The lad’s
Masterless mutt appeared.
Dead but alive,
Stunned and terrified
He crawled
From the belly of the earth.

He lay there on the grass
Closed his eyes
And watched the sun go down.
As the mongrel wafted away
To the place where the music went,
The earth once again
Resonated the lonely dirge
Of Tiree’s anomalous piper

Reduced to bone and gristle.
He never again
The sway of his master’s kilt.

In the eeriness
Of my afternoon,
The wind
And the wind
Piped through the glen,
Whilst in the belly
Of the earth
The ghost
Of Tiree
Piped by
One more time.


To read the Otago Daily Times newspaper article about the competition click here.

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