Book on the shore, Yesnaby, Orkney

Devon-born Mark O. Goodwin lived and worked in London before moving to Skye in 1994. He is co-author of the book Dà Thaobh a’ Bhealaich/The Two Sides of the Pass, with Maoilios Caimbeul: a bilingual Gaelic/English poetic conversation with drawings by Eòghann Mac Colla. He now lives in Sweden.


You can hear him read and talk about his poetry at the independent learning site by students and staff from the MA 21st Century Media Practice Course at Coventry University.


After the Wave

from the painting by Joan Eardley



There are no boats, and the rocks

and the pier are submerged.

There are no birds in the dim

greenish light of the sky –

they have flown beyond the clouds.


There is no-one gazing

at the horizon except ourselves –

giddy with the sight of the coiling,

curdling, brawling white wave

while the winter sun dissolves.


The spit and tug of a squall teases

and the reek and reach of a wind  

chills through the frame. A glacial  

gyre of north sea water threatens

to flood

         all our senses,

obliterate the hinterland –

the ochre fired soil of the Mearns –

rich with the contradiction

of a hard life won from a fertile land.


Perhaps, when the weather relents,

and the tide recoils, we can step

back and pick up the driftwood

from the fragile shore of our moorings.