Isle of Raasay

She came, your grandmother,
Across the Isle, from Applecross she did,
And over time she told you of her youth,
That she was fair in her day, married young, emigrated.
And widowed young, inheriting the very fine
Fostoria from her man. Goblets she held aloft above the
Kitchen sink, telling you how fragile they were, indeed.

And you inherited them after the wake, only seven of the eight, because
In haste, you were too swift with the one and it slipped from your hands
Into the warm suds, back in the
Kitchen long ago in her last house in Queens. You were sixteen.

She tried to rescue it from the ocean of suds, but in doing so,
Of course, she bled. You felt her pulse, wrapping the bandages, but you
Were young and had so many other things to do...

You married young, too, and now, times being hard, you know the
Auction was the only way.

So here you are, aren’t you now, under the auction tents,
With the bidding, going, going, gone?
Not gone, no, not yet...
More bids. The tent poles quake, or is it you?
It’s cold here under the tents in Brooklyn, I know.
And it hits you that things are precious, fragile, timeless.
And that she was, too.

And there you are, aren’t you now, raising your paddle bidding
On your own inheritance! Foolish girl? No. Not a’ t’all.

When they box them up for you, you blush.
Hop on the train And you’re on your way back home.
Maybe there’s time for things
To heal, hope, precious things.
Like the photo left to you of the Isle of Raasay.
It’s what she gazed at, too, dreamily.

And when he walks through the door, you remember why
You married him, don’t you now? You, a half Scottish girl, you
Married him, yes, him with the map of Ireland on his face,
Those bright eyes. Ah! And he’s as fair as ever he was, I’m telling you.
Hear me? Fall in his arms as into the sea. He’ll hold you strong.

There was alway light, too, when I looked across the way
From Applecross. Fair as day.
And there’s light here now, in this little place,
If you look for it.
Maybe in his deep, blue eyes, remembering how
I told you to look deep and wide before you jump? Ah, leap.

You’re precious, too, you see it now. Go on, run to him, show
Him the Fostoria, that I told you is so rare that it’s the
Only glass that sings when you pour the water in and run
Your fingers lightly on the circled rim. It Sings.

Oh, Sing. Of fair Scotland and of your love, your handsome Irishman.

Tears are like that, too, didn’t I tell you? Tears can sing.
And in the end, that’s love, with the hope of the Isle always in your heart,
Dreaming of Raasay.


Kathryn Forrester Griffin
Poet Laureate, Clan Forrester
Poet Laureate Emerita of Virginia

Kathryn Forrester Griffin