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Published by richard, 2022-06-02 10:19:40

Velvet Moss For My Pillow

Velvet Moss


At Slough na mara
child-swans endure storms

cast in the sea of Moyle
under Aoife’s spell

not far away a field of sheep
recovering from winter’s rain

where new-borns sleep
on the matted warmth of mother’s back

while fuchsias bud
and bluebells ink the woods

The light is still
broken tunes weave through the grasses

where you sit a sound away
from the lost swans on Carrig na rone

With eyes closed you listen
for tomorrow’s day

while eiders coo
their mating songs in patterns

Rathlin’s wild garlic a wedding
green and white

where the river flows with winter’s rain
past buds pushing out

from bare branches
reaching upwards

A Cottage evening

At seven o’clock a squall of yacking birds
coasts in

from fields and blackthorn

dropping deeply into the broad green escallonia
a dormitory for sparrows

scrumming for their bunks –

At ten past seven, silence
the blue hour deepens

to north greys and mauves

And at seven thirty, dark light reveals
Jupiter on the horizon

the night-sky hiding sea and land

Eight o’clock two-coat time
in this amphitheatre

as the space station emerges star-like

arcing west to east –
as if freshly painted, the Plough

sparkles on a black sea-sky canvas

And at eight twenty we search
for the darkest dark

in the shadows of the harbour road


Front cover
Rue Point, Rathlin

1 Near Ally Lough, Rathlin
2 Ulster gate posts, Rathlin
4 Wall stead, Caravinally, Rathlin
6 Rock pool, White Park Bay
8 Stone wall, Port Moon
10 Magilligan Point
12 Oye na muck, White Park Bay
14 Port na Weelan, Dunseverick
16 Dundriff, White Park Bay
18 Fulmar, Gerragh Point
19 Port Moon
20 Crows, Dunseverick
25 Portacallan, Portbraddan
26 Arches, White Park Bay
27 Craigmacagan Lough, Rathlin
29 Church Bay, Rathlin
31 Rocks and lichen, White Park Bay
33 Fair Head
35 Rathlin and Mull of Kintyre from Ballintoy Churchyard
37 Sedgy Glen, Rathlin
39 Ushet Port Rathlin
41 Kelp kiln, Mill Bay, Rathlin
43 Ballintoy Church
45 Gorse bush, Dunseverick Castle
47 Rock pool, White Park Bay
51 Xanthoria parienta lichen, Rathlin

Back cover
Kelp stipe and steadfast, Cushendun caves shore


It’s been a privilege and a great joy to spend many hours roaming the beautiful north coast together to
try to capture its essence as we see it.
Thanks must go to Sue and Clive for their patience, support and interest in our book.
Thank you Fiona and Windsor for your friendship, you’ve been wonderful, over many years.
Everybody loves staying at your fantastic cottages.
Thank you Jim and Val for your wonderful friendship, your great interest and encouragement. Jim
that’s some Foreword you have written for us!
And from Geraldine my sincere thanks to Gill Barr, Charlotte Eichler, Annie Freud, Teresa Godfrey,
Christine Mitchell, Kerry Newcombe and all my fabulous writing groups, Ballycastle writers,
Cattistock poets, Bill Greenwell’s poets, Kilmington and Sherborne poets.
And a special thankyou to Nick Morris for advice on presentation and to Greta Stoddard for kindly
editing the book.


Geraldine Fitzgerald is from Belfast and lives in Dorset. She works with
Annie Freud’s poetry group in Dorset. Online with Bill Greenwell’s poets,
Greta Stoddard’s Kilmington poets, Sherborne library poets and
Ballycastle writers N. Ireland. A love of walking and the natural world on
Northern Ireland’s north coast and Rathlin Island is where she finds her
inspiration and love for writing. She is published in ‘The Curlew’ and in
several anthologies.


Richard Sloan lives in Dorset and was brought up in Lancashire by
parents who come originally from Carrickfergus.
He has happy memories of visiting relatives in Northern Ireland
throughout his childhood but didn’t know this special part of the Antrim
coast until introduced to it by Geraldine.
The shoreline, sea, geology, history and wildlife provide wonderful
photographic opportunities.

This collaboration between poet and
photographer is born of a love for the North
Antrim coastline and Rathlin Island. It is a
region rich in history with fascinating
landscapes, seascapes, geology, and wildlife.

It provides endless inspiration for both words
and images.

“In Geraldine Fitzgerald’s poems there’s an acute
awareness of place that is often evoked with a subtle,
vibrant lyricism. Recreating the natural world with this
sense of delicacy and resonance lends the poems an almost
transcendental feel without our feet ever having left the
ground. We are where we are most vividly but Geraldine
seems to have transformed the experience into something
that contains at its heart a mystery.

The photographs are stunning and the poems complement them
in just the right way - expressing something other than pictorial
- a meditation, almost - that acts as a counterbalance to the
clarity and beauty of the images.”
Greta Stoddart

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