Ama Bolton – Sumburgh Head 2020

Sumburgh Head 2020

I’ve been coming here
daytime dusk and dark
since early spring

I have watched
fulmar and puffin
seen tufts of thrift
bloom and wither
on the cliff edge

I’ve known the camera’s eye
blurred with rain
seen the gaze turn
from sunlit fields
to steel-grey cumulonimbus
behind the lighthouse

I have seen sunset
flame-yellow or palest peach
the sun’s last blink
under a blanket of stratus
a lit window on a spit of land
dazzle of airport lights

I’ve walked the cliffs
stared out to sea
watched ships pass
heard surge and backwash
and the clamour of birds

I’ve found a way
to outwit gravity’s drag
spread black-tipped wings
skimmed the waves
braved the wind
dived and snatched
flown back to my mate
to our nook in the high-rise
moss-green rockface

in the early hours
I have tuned in
     Shetland Isles
southeast four to six
becoming cyclonic

Ama Bolton

Ama Bolton convenes a Stanza group in Somerset, where she lives with a sculptor and two hens. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, from Bridport Prize (2008) to Horses of a Different Colour (2021), in journals including Magma, Mslexia, Coast to Coast to Coast, Obsessed with Pipework, Brittle Star, The Alchemy Spoon and Far-Off Places, online at Right Hand Pointing, Unlost, Places of Poetry, The Poetry Map of Scotland and The Stare’s Nest, and on Radio 3’s The Verb.

Sumburgh Head 2020 was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.

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