Catcher (Hugh McMillan)

Verity La Heightened Talk

FullSizeRender5(In his log, D. A. Mowat, keeper
at Killantringan Lighthouse, Wigtownshire,
records counting 293 moths near his lamp
on the night of 19th September 1913.)
I imagine sailors
watching the lamp’s eye,
envious as they creep
along the breast of the sea
like shadows.
From this high place
they are a plank’s width
from death,
all questions
drowned on their lips.
I know:
I’ve seen it.
I am beyond marrying,
watch moths instead of time,
beating on the glass. At night
I sit in the watchroom,
throw my beam of light
like a rope
across the back of the ocean,
and reel in hope after hope after hope.

Hugh McMillan is a poet from South West Scotland, an award winner in several competitions including the Smith/Doorstep Pamphlet Prize, the Callum MacDonald Prize and the Cardiff International Poetry Competition. His Selected Poems, Not Actually being in Dumfrieswas recently published by Luath Press.