I first wrote this poem when I was 17. I was out of money in the Glasgow Airport overnight, waiting for my plane home. I tried to sleep, but the chairs weren’t particularly sympathetic to my fatigue. The situation was made worse by a pair of Scottish children awaiting an early morning flight for their family’s vacation to Spain: They were fascinated that I was from Canada, and they peppered me with questions in a thick brogue. I could understand the boy a little, but his sister’s words were impenetrable. The only thing I’m sure she said was, “Doon’t interroopt!” whenever her brother tried to translate her verbal barrage.
When they finally tottered off to their parents around two in the morning, I thought how wonderful it would be to live somewhere quiet. I thought of a deserted island, like Robinson Crusoe, but my months in the British Isles wouldn’t allow my imagination to linger too long on a tropical place. Then I thought of a barren wasteland, like one of the islands off the Scottish coast, surrounded forever by an angry, slate grey sea. I decided living alone there like a hermit was too depressing for a day dream, so I imagined there was a female castaway too. Then I wrote this poem.
I rewrote it later that year for an assignment in OAC Writer’s Craft, and my teacher was so pleased with it that he put a copy up in the teacher’s lounge. Later in university I worked it over again at greater length for the E. J. Poetry Competition, but it failed to place. I’ve changed the odd word here or there today, so I guess that makes this a poem ten years’ in the making. There are still a couple of sappy or otherwise clunky lines, but those are tough to excise when the subject matter is a love affair at the ends of the Earth. I’ve always been fond of it, and I don’t imagine I’ll ever have a better forum that this one in which to make it public to a broader audience, so here it goes:
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