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Maggie Mackay: a poem

The Radio Officer Encounters a Maelstrom

The wrecking spiral drags him

under, down, down.

Birling like a spinning top,

he coils and unfolds through the vortex.

Sparks of earth's light flicker

under his eyelids,

wild salt water in his windpipe.


a lifetime ago,

seals, dolphins, his mother.

She is kneeling on the moor,

plucking heather for luck,

shaking soil from its roots,

tendril roots,

roots he is planting,

laid out on the Atlantic seabed.

Maggie Mackay loves family history, which she winds into her poems. Her pamphlet, The Heart of the Run, is published by Picaroon Poetry. Her full collection, A West Coast Psalter, was published by Kelsay Books in 2021. She is a reviewer for

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