The world began with a woman,
shawl-happed, stooped under a creel,
whose slow step you recognise
from troubled dreams. You feel

obliged to help bear her burden
from hill or kelp-strewn shore,
but she passes by unseeing
thirled to her private chore.

It’s not sea birds or peats she’s carrying,
not fleece, nor the herring bright
but her fear that if ever she put it down
the world would go out like a light.

The Creel by Kathleen Jamie

Advertisements