The pod of whales beached themselves on Rutland Island,
chose the isolated sweep of the Back Strand to come ashore.
My grandmother in her final years would have understood.
Those long-finned pilot whales suffered some trauma,
became distressed and confused. And so for her that winter
when told her grownup daughter had died suddenly.
Three years later, hearing that her eldest had also
passed on threw something within her off-kilter.
Sent her mind homing towards the Back Strand.
The whales had wandered together, over thirty of them,
swam through Scottish waters to the Sound of Arranmore,
heading towards the crescent of shoreline and their ending.
She would have understood, the Rutland-born woman
who had long left the island but yearned for that place; called
for it constantly, rose from her sickbed in the middle of the night.
I need to go now. They will be waiting; it will soon be low tide.
She wanted to journey, follow those already gone,
float ashore, let grief beach her there on the Back Strand.
by Denise Blake
from Uimhir a Cúig | The Beaching: Poems
Numero Cinque Magazine