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I used to visit Rathlin Island each summer with my family. One year I went over with my son who was 15 at the time and we camped.
It was magical.
I love the place.

The Island

Fdf5205c-8b5b-4da8-a6dc-63fe28d680a9by Billy J. Stewart20 Feb 2014

Beset aglow in seeming endless summer fair,
Diffracting light in sparkled sea of crystal blue,
The ancient cliffs of weathered limestone draw me there
In symmetry of lines in basalt lava, straight and true.
The island beckons all who to her cast a longing look,
From northern shore across the rising swell,
Enticing as some wriggling bait set firm on silver hook,
With mystery of legend past and promise yet of story still to tell.
And so, in bouncing wave, I reach the sheltered bay,
Beguiling in its stony bleached and ordered walls,
The harbour welcomes boats into its heart each day,
And points them on, to find their mooring stalls.
Alighting, there, a potholed road leads on to all-store shop
Where upon to all is cast a friendly native greeting.
Just beyond, the grassy verge compels to bide a while and stop,
And from this vantage seat, one finds a place for fellow travellers meeting.
On risen beach grey seals recline to catch the rays and bask as one,
So close that one could almost touch their shiny skin,
But then, with clumsy foot, approaching in the glare of mid-day sun
Results in splash and all at once, the sea they enter in.
So on to lighthouse three, in east and south and west,
Each set in splendid glory of its whitewashed painted gleam,
And there in croc and crag is found the Puffin’s nest,
Precariously placed on little ledge, so it would seem.
A cosy brood of hungry chicks to ever-feed,
With parent beaks a-fill of north Atlantic fish and eel
Thus scurrying to meet their every growing need,
Before departing June to seek a far off Arctic meal.
On looking out from lofty cliff on northern sides,
The cold-stream current patterns scour for basking fin,
And there below that gentle giant glides,
Devouring, scooping all the floating surface-dwellers in.
Beneath the rolling waves in silent sleep,
In settling down to form a living reef for cod,
Lie twisted metal wrecks upon the bottom deep,
The souls of the departed lost returned to God.
Along the coast, round cove, a hidden tidal cave,
A sheltered home to many creatures big and small,
Where Robert Bruce reclined to contemplate escape and kingdom save,
And so did he return to once more claim it all.
The Northern Lights in twilight dance a flick and distant glow,
With greenness hue and blue to Scottish haze,
Aurora in its royal crown of glory sets a cosmic laser show,
In captivating eyes who to her draw their all-astonished gaze.
In turning west, by stepping style, a little quarry hill
Of nothing much at first it seems of little note,
But this was once the source of precious stone to mill,
In export far beyond the shores by foreign boat.
This island treasure coveted and grasped by some in distant land,
Bestowing to the holder such peculiar strength and might,
Efficient as a tool, applied with skill in powerful hand,
A lovely stone-age Axe, in polished Porcellanite.
The southern shore surveys the reddened glow of Fairhead rock,
In setting sun and shadows long, as in some Jurassic scene,
Suggests another world as if a land that time forgot,
And there the foot of man upon its peak has never been.
This is a peaceful place to stop and pitch a tent,
And sit around an evening driftwood fire,
The silence broken only by the seals in loud lament,
To try to count the endless stars that draw the outlook higher.
So to the island I return each summer year,
And oft repeat my self-reflective theme,
I never cease to be amazed at what I see and hear,
No madding crowds, no sharp rebuke to spoil my chance to dream.
And there by campfire embers, as the sun sinks in the sea,
Is contemplative peace, the sort that money cannot buy,
There is nowhere else on earth that I would rather be
Than on the Island, underneath the starry sky.