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in collection, Island Sisters, 2005,

The Redlake Press, ISBN 1 870019 21 0


The Return


Dawn is eggshell light, a daughter day

of all our days and time at first making.

On the horizonís stately curve, the sun

rises to old rhythms, climbs an airy

scaffolding of gold and pulls down night.

The island empties in a white mirage.


I turn to look, undaunted by old grief.

White crosses radiate down to the sea,

poppies dip and float in wayside tides,

banners wave among the drowning flowers.

A distant sea wind echoes the last post

reminding me of all thatís gone before.


Your finger prints are etched into my heart

casual as graffiti and sometimes

a holy book, a slow calligraphy

whose minute architecture holds a sense

unknown and yet its beauty makes a whole

of all lifeís tragedy and transience.


The dead are never lost, they are a part

forever, though apart. Death is a pause,

a silent ground from where a pulse uncoils

and spirals into green to touch the hand

and heart of living things. So death stores life,

bringing it fragility and form.


I head due north, the wind swings in my sails.

All I learned, a pilgrim outward bound,

I guard in secret like a talisman.

And when nightís violet waves leap up like whales

against the stars, and I am overwhelmed,

green wings protect me in my disbelief.



Susan Skinner


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