Estha Weiner

On the ‘Island of the Old Women,’

in the middle of Loch Lomond,
I wander
Inchailloch Burial Ground,
on vacation
from the year of the dead.
Whoever cared
has placed a wooden bench
for the visitor
to sit amongst the gravestones,
one from Clan MacGregor,
“family” of Rob Roy, “Celebrated
Highland Rogue,” another
educated pirate.
Some gravestones offer
symbols which do honor
to the crafts
of the people buried here:
sheep, scythe, and sword,
but no symbol for a poet,
called in Scots, “makar,”
“a skilled and versatile worker
in the craft of writing.”
I wish you were buried
on the “Island of the Old Women.”
I wish you were buried
anywhere with a place
for words. Instead,
your incomparable talent
to disappear
at will…
Bill, tell me
if this poem’s finished.
for William Matthews

Estha Weiner
“On the ‘Island of the Old Women,'” appeared in Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews (University of Akron Press, 2005).