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Seventy Eight Revolutions 

Waves crashed

against the bus shelter.

My sister lost a

Wellington boot.


On holiday in Mull

a quarter of a century later

we caught a fishing boat from Iona

and voyaged past Tyree

the magic shipping forecast rock

through mist and salt spray

to visit Fingal’s Cave.


On the island called Staffa

where only birds live

among the basalt columns,

(mythical heroes, maybe

but no people),

you said

“Let’s climb the rocks”.


In September 1968

our river burst its banks

and flooded the world.

We skipped school and

went swimming in the bus station,

diving for shells

and seaweed

and coral and kippers.


We hopscotched on the hexagons

our laughter filling

the giant’s vaulted lair

and spilling out into the silver afternoon.


Boxes of Victoria plums

sailed out of a shop.

A policeman told us

not to eat them.


While she cooked, my mother played

an ancient gramophone record

the Hebrides Overture

(seventy eight revolutions per second)

conducting the orchestra

with a spoon.


Occasionally, unexpectedly,

moments of joy change everything.

© Vanda Carter

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