Isle of Mull

George Moore

A mull seems but a half-built hill and older

still than mountains I’ve known

 

round and bald as my father’s head

which I’ve tried so many times to climb

 

before he was gone and the mulls

remain princely but unglorified

 

I park on the roadside where a hint of trail

ascends up through the grass humps and stone

 

thinking if I am here I should really have

a trophy for my time a climb a peak

 

and so I climb into the late morning fog

till shale becomes a four-point scramble

 

slick as the devil’s tongue

hand over hand on a grassy vertical

 

and the top a noll a rounded bump

a field from which my father’s bald head shines

 

where the isle rolls out on a gentle wind

and standing where a great great grandfather

 

may have stood before we both descend

careful too as tourists have died by a false step

 

and then down to the car

and the inn and a cup of tea

 

and a sort of unconscious bereavement

as I’ve been thinking of the dead all day

 

with the calm brewed in single clouds

above a few slow sculpted sheep

 

grazing undisturbed on

the new sprouts of their hillsides


About the Author

George Moore’s poetry has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, North American Review, Colorado Review, Orion, and Stand. He has published six collections, the most recent of which are Children's Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015) and Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FurureCycle 2016). He is a seven-time Pushcart Prize nominee and a finalist for The National Poetry Series. His work has been shortlisted for the Bailieborough Poetry Prize and long-listed for the Gregory O'Donoghue and Ginkgo Poetry Prizes. After a career at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he lives with his wife, a Canadian poet, on the south shore of Nova Scotia.