Books for Independent Thinkers 
Cart (0) £0.00 GBP

Starlight on Water

Authors: Helena Nelson

Published by The Rialto

ISBN: 9780952744450

- +
‘Starlight on Water is a scintillating collection by one of Scotland’s sharpest, most enjoyable talents. I recommend it without reservation.’ — Anne Stevenson

‘Warm, witty, musical and moving, Helena Nelson’s poems honour everyday life. She is that rare thing: a good popular poet. Read her.’ — Alison Brackenbury

Much of Helena’s writing has this skilful clarity that yet draws to itself difficult questions. This poem is about fear, and about the fact that fear is boundless once we give it a foot in the door. - Michael Mackmin

Coldstream Cottage, Ardnamurchan

It’s a small white house beside the sea
where the hills are steep and the sky is low
and sheep meander from scree to scree
and sometimes you see a fishing boat go.
The yellow lamplight welcomes you
to a seat by a fire that warms and glows.
An ill wind flusters outside, it’s true
but it’s calm inside as the darkness grows.
You say, There’s nothing to fear tonight,
I can rest in peace. If it were so
a haven might mean the world was right.
The floorboards creak and the curtains blow.
Sleep meanders from scree to scree
and the hills are dark and the moon is low.
you hear the snuffling of unease
on the stones, by the door, at the back window.
You toss in a sea of quilted dread
as the black mouth opens, long and slow
and swallows you in your safe white bed
dreaming. You are the last to know.

See more: Book
Scroll to top