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This poem is taken from PN Review 102, Volume 21 Number 4, March - April 1995.

The Translations of St Columba's Sea-Watch Peter Riley

To be enfolded bodily in a summit
Like the ink in a letter
And witness the sea's entire calm.

The heaving waves riding the glitter
A continual singing
Addressed to a cause.

The clear headland with its smooth strand
We are established at such an edge
Cloaked in brightness, smeared in birdsong.

The lesser waves beating on the rocks
The shout from the graveyard.

Great flocks of birds hanging over the sea
Rare mammals passing down the coast
Gods of food, gods of want, human centres.

Watching the tide rising and falling, my

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