things I learnt beside the dark brightness of the sea

(in happy response to Sara Collie's pellucid writing)

Things I learnt beside the dark 
brightness of the sea: to feed
my feet in the shore -
walking, with ringed plovers to heed
the crows, scarce whether jackdaw 
or hooded; 
		 to hand the living five-
pointedness of starfish back 
to the sea; 		to find majesty
in the pairedness of butterfly shells; 

to extend the day's mouth into rainbows,
and the wind into the kite's tails; to stalk
the heron, awe-ing it into a slow walk
before it scoops the harbour mouth;
to find the breath beyond the
baitedness of wonder

© Kathy Labrum McVittie 	26 February 2021

I wrote this half way through the main part of the COVID-19 pandemic in Scotland, a year on after having returned to my northern home Dhruvaloka = ‘Place of the North Star’ in Sanskrit – my “summer-house”; and place of sanctuary and retreat, where I now live full time.)

It was inspired by a piece gifted to me by my writing student and mentee Sara Collie, a poem called Things I learned in the darkness. You can read it in the spring 2021 issue of Flora Fiction

I displayed Sara’s poem on my wall throughout the pandemic, to the left of the door lintel that leads into my front porch.

It still gives me solace and a feeling of validation every time I read it, speaking as it does the mutually understood language of word-stitching, time-travelling, and navigation through the unwieldly dark corridors of experience.