This boat is bound for Barra, this blog, this blog is bound for Barra, this boat…

This sort of poem was written on the ferry over to Barra. It is the first in a short series of posts about my recent journey to the most westerly of isles.


Like many pilgrims before me I am setting out into the Atlantic blue, watching the shrinking landmass ahead of me, aware of the promise and adventure that lie, ever expanding, behind me. At some point I will turn around and confront it. I will be


I’m going out west, west of Eden to distant lands where


rain shines and time doesn’t so much heal as transform, where the probable becomes the implausible and where there are thin places thick with possibility

well probably.

I’ve never been to the Outer Hebrides before but they live in my imagination under the heading ‘West’ and yet… I have been further west. I have been much further west before. I have been as far west as the

east coast.

The eastern seaboard which is very west and yet at the least also east but my journey today is taking me solely west. I have been further west physically but not mystically, or so insistently and persistently. I am going west lest I misplace or deviate from the promised land which is at hand, at outstretched hand. The landmass


departed, has had to recede as I cannot perceive it any longer as our wake gets longer, the wake between us and between myself and that precipice before three alarms I cautiously set myself, before I let myself start the day. The promise behind me is demanding and expanding as this boat, bound for such glory reaches for it.

The end is not in sight and now neither is the beginning and I am beginning to be in that place in between east and west where the compass never rests, expectant but torn, bereft,

and yet assuredly directed



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