r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: October 2010

The Colourists

They came out here in the first years of the century,
Their eyes still drunk on Paris and Venice -
Here to the edge of the world, this blowing place,
Where the days are a constant gale,
Where everything is always changing
In a flurry of bright gusts.

They came out here
To put easels into the north wind and try to catch it,
To haul colours from sky and sea,
Tie them down to canvases - shreds of them,
Tattered edges - and take them back
In something that lasted forever.

Kenneth Steven, from Island Collected Poems


Green Sea, Iona
Samuel John Peploe
oil on canvas



I remember what it was like to barefoot that house,
Wood rooms bleached by light. Days were new
   voyages, journeys,
Coming home a pouring out of stories and of
The sun never died completely in the night,
The skies just turned luminous, the wind
Tugged at the strings in the grass like a hand
In a harp. I did not sleep, too glad to listen by a
To the sorrow sounds of the birds
As they swept down in skeins, and rose again,
All that was summer. I did not sleep, the weight of
Behind and before too great to waste a grain of this.
One four in the morning at first larksong I went west
   over the dunes,
Broke down running onto three miles of white shell
   sand, and stood.
A wave curled and silked the shore in a single
   seamless breath.
I went naked into the water, ran deep into a green
Through which i was translucent. I rejoiced
In something I could not name; I celebrated a
Too huge to hold. I trailed home, slow and golden,
Dried by the sunlight.

Kenneth Steven, from Island Collected Poems