They were the last to leave the small island.
It had got too big for them, the circle
in which they could move tightening around
their frailty till they spent most of the day
fretting about the next: anxious and vexed.
He had a line out for rockfish when a
gust near took him off the cliff. She had a
bad fall feeding the hens. No neighbours no
friends. No-one to call on. Him no longer
able for the curragh, its heavy oars.
Indoors, they spilt milk and could not keep the
fire in, both sitting shivering of a
morning till the turf caught and they could heat
water for tea, listening to the sea,
the wind whistling in off the Atlantic.
Once or twice something made them panic and
they hastened to embrace to make it go
away. Till one day they both knew: a clear
view of the island from bungalow
in the village would have to see them through.
The pair of cows were sold, almost too old
now for milking. The hens they gave away.
On the last day they walked clockwise
around the well three times, reciting the
prayer, commending its care to Mary.
Young Hugh from the pub ferried them over,
the kitchen left to the mice, the walls to
the lichen, the pasture to the brambles.
They sat holding hands. It was the bitter
wind that brought the tears to their eyes.
Glenn Hubbard lives in Madrid and has been writing poetry since 2013. This year he won the Bangor Literary Journal’s 40 Word Poem competition. The greatest influence on his poetry has been R. F. Langley.