Islay Community Poem

Sing me a song of Islay,                          

of windswept hills                           

and silver sand,                                              

where crofters keep cattle                              

and work the land.                                

Sing me a song.                                   

 

Sing of the shingle shore

the strength of riptides and waves,

waves of turquoise and green

and every colour in between.

Sing me a song of the shore.

 

Sing about powerful light

shining on distant hills,

the dark cloud skies

and the gloaming.

Sing me a song about light

 

Sing me a song

about fishing and creel,

lobster and scallop and salmon,

fresh food from astonishing seas.

Not forgetting Islay cheese.

 

Sing about weathered cliffs,

the chatter of water on stone.

Skeins of wild geese overhead,

startled roe deer as you pass,

trees, bracken, and gorse.

Sing me a song.

 

Sing me a song

a song about place,

Kildalton Cross,

a square lighthouse,

the single track

across the moor,

over the Rhinns

to the western shore.

Sing me a song about place.

 

Sing me a song

about dreich,

drockit, mizzle and haar,

the sea’s loud roar

the rain’s downpour

Sing me a song.

 

Sing about finest whisky

matured in strong barrels.

Sing peating levels of barley,

iodine, seaweed and salt.

Pour me a dram.

Sing me a song of the malt.

 

Sing about Botanist Gin,

flowers of summer

out on the machair,

hills of heather,

Atlantic weather

distilled all together.

Oh sing me a song about Gin.

 

Sing me a song

of beauty and space,

the peace of the place,

enduring purpose…

like paradise,

the people you find

and their kindness.

Sing me this song.

 

Sing me a song about home,

of heritage and humour,

how the island of Islay

means home. Home

and marriage and family,

united in community.

Sing me a song about home

 

So sing me a song about Islay.

When it's time to leave

we want to stay.

We want to stay

for a year and a day,

not board CalMac’s ferry

and sail away.

 

So sing me a song

Sing me a song 

Sing me a song of Islay.

 

by Pauline Prior-Pitt, 2017

 

Pauline very kindly composed this poem for us over the Islay Book Festival 2017 weekend based on word contributions from the public. We think she did a fantastic job and many of us were moved to tears when she read it for us at the end of the festival. Thank you, Pauline! Please come again!