Portrait of Skara Brae

by Neile Graham

Eight houses
alleyways between

Five thousand years
and the walls still stand

Shelves, fire pits
beds demarked by stone

The Neolithic motel
is spare of luxury, yes

But its smoky hold
would shut out

Rain and salt
the onslaught of sand

And sea
the fierce Orkney weather

The battering ingress
of curious foreign feet

That threaten
it now

How these now
roofless walls

the imagination

How they make time
travellers of us all


Though Canadian by birth and inclination, Neile Graham currently resides in Seattle, WA. Her poetry has recently appeared in Liminality, Interfictions, and Through The Gate 6. This poem was inspired by the evocative archeology of the Orkney Islands, a place she returns to frequently in her imagination and in reality as often as she can.

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