Puffin in flightHardly time to tune up among
the tussocks, thrift and tormentil
above the giant’s basalt hexagons

before the opening notes from
Fingal’s band burst from the cliff page
as you dot off the stave and back,

this hungry earth-ledge hurling you
to nothing, till nothing holds you,
adrift on serried feathers between

thermals and the bubbling sea-mirror,
leaping as you do for risk, for life,

the nothingness of wave-borne air
become your element, until
your inner baton says enough

and whirrs you, blurred as violin
bows, legs your golden drumsticks,
back to the trampoline of land,

and there you perch, a golden interval
in a sculptured bar, before you’re

away for the whole wild turning
year, dotting above the swell,
separate and together

as Fingal’s pillars in
the Hebridean surge,
your syncopated polka

soaring con brio
out to the jazz
of the naked sea.

©Alison Leonard.