Into the Orkney Sky

That spring, I learned how to fly.
Willed my small arms hollow,
thrust them into a long coat
and made wings as the wind rose
from plaintive selkie cry to fury’s register.

I spread myself gull-like
into the sea’s salt-feathered breath,
swallowed the scent of seaweed,
rotted rope, oil and fresh-caught fish.

Oh, it was so easy, flying.
I laughed as I rose.
My high voice, overcome,
was carried beyond islands
out into the great grey void.

Feet became strangers, unfixed.
No longer craved soil or stone.
I flailed in an ecstasy of drowning
a few inches above the world.

In a moment of skyward freedom
unhooked from fear or falling
I forgot my friend Phil. Abandoned
all thought of the goat kid snug in his arms.
My step-father vanished rapidly.

Even the face of my mother faded
as I rose toward the point where sun
tore feebly at a caul of cloud, birthing
choppy stains of greenish blue below

until beneath me I saw pasture
bound in by shrinking fence;
heard the clamour of grass
pressed unwilling into prayer.
Its song, like gravity, lured me home.

I landed three yards down the lane,
blood astonished by contact, pressure.
Spread my ragged wings once more.
Dared the weather not to change.



Adam Horovitz is a Gloucestershire-based poet, performer and editor. His first full collection, Turning (Headland, 2011), was followed by Little Metropolis (a CD of poetry and music commissioned by the Stroud Fringe Festival in 2015) and The Soil Never Sleeps in 2018. He is one of Ledbury Poetry Festival’s Versopolis poets, and was poet in residence for Herefordshire and the Pasture-fed Livestock Association. He is one of 10 poets to appear on Cerys Matthews and The Hidden Orchestra’s album We Come From the Sun (2021). Love and Other Fairy Tales was recently published by  Indigo Dreams Publications.