Farewell To Stromness

For today’s prompt from Robert Lee Brewer’s Write Better Poetry blog, write a goodbye poem. Whether leaving for a holiday or going to get groceries, many people find themselves in positions of saying goodbye to each other. So this feels like an appropriate way to close out this year’s challenge…until we meet again.

Farewell To Stromness

The wind blew into Stromness from Hoy Sound
as if urging me to stay. From the deck,
I watched a gull hover over the ferry.
She’d twitch a feather here, a muscle there,
no exertion, no panic, as if suspended
in a mobile over the cradle of a fisherman’s child.

Instead of recalling my time at Skara Brae
or the Ring of Brodgar, I was hypnotized
by this bird’s deft demonstration of unthinking.
She swam in a relentless river of air
without plan or concern, unlike me—
checking clocks and worrying timetables.

As the boat coughed out into the roiling quicksilver
of the North Sea, I looked back at the stones
of Stromness and realized some part of me remained.


Inspired by Peter Maxwell DaviesFarewell to Stromness and my trip to the Orkney Islands near the end of the 20th century. Thanks for reading my poems-a-day this year. Let’s do it again in eleven months.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
This entry was posted in Poetry, Scotland 2016 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Farewell To Stromness

  1. JeanMarie says:

    Excellent end to the challenge. Well done and congratulations.😘

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa Tomey says:

    Way to take the month out with a winner! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very nice, calming, lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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