Geirr’s Island –

Norse man, naming this land his own.
From L’Etacq to Le Hocq the coastline
is a fan, a flame of brandished rock
doubling at low tide.  Each rock named –
etchièrviéthe, marmotchiéthe, sablionniéthe
the language of rock prodding and poking
the coast over time – from Ick Hoc
to Hygge Hogge, to Hic Hoc, to Icho Isle
with an imprint of witch.

In sun the rocks graze brown to pink
to souothè. Encircled by the sea’s salt suck
they hunch and fret like something spilt, burnt
and set. There are eyes in the rock
where sea can pass. Souachehouais
in the rock where sea can swash.

From north to south the island
is a wedge, tapering out
to little coves and open dunes,
sea spray, spindrift, sand-glitter, gloss,
down to the harbour with its scoucherels,
its reek of shell and flesh and salt,
down to the busy granite town,
people going about their day,
pebbles rolling on the tide.


etchièrviéthe rock frequented by cormorants; marmotchiéthe murmuring rock; sablionniéthe sandy rock; souothè yellowish brown, sorel-coloured; souachehouais swashway; scoucherel skulking place