Letter to East Lothian

Sarah Nathan


You’ve put the hills to my back –
A changing skyline of colour,
Purpling in summer when the heather blooms
And winding roads to nowhere.
The rock to my front,
Skull like and huge,
Emerging from the sea in lofty isolation.

Windburnt and sandswept
I feel you under my feet –
A place I’ve finally called Home.
It’s been a slow becoming:
Twenty years in fact,
Of friendships and house moves, children and tears.
Sometimes, just staying put is enough.

Yet I worry when I see your visitors fade –
The sandmartins are fewer now,
Their riverbed dance subdued.
And even the gannets –
Kamikaze of the water,
Are sick on their island;
Day trippers told to stay away.

When my neighbours stripped back your skin
And replaced it with plastic grass
It was another deep grief
And I was short of air.
Gasping in shallow water,
Hypoxic and dazed –
And I wonder how much of this you can bear.

Sarah Nathan

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Sarah Nathan is a secondary school English teacher living and working in East Lothian, Scotland. She has an MA in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh and has done numerous online writing courses, most recently with Goldsmiths University, London. She has previously had work featured in Outcrop Poetry, an online and print journal.

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