The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

Gray’s Pier, a poem by George Mackay Brown

I lay on Gray's pier, a boy
And I caught a score of sillocks one morning

I laboured there, all one summer
And we built the Swan

A June day I brought to my door
Jessie-Ann, she in white

I sang the Barleycorn ballad
Between a Hogmanay star and New year snow

The Swan haddock-heavy form the west –
Women, cats, gulls!

I saw from the sea window
The March fires on Orphir

I followed, me in black
Jessie-Ann to the kirkyard

I smoke my pipe on Gray's pier now
And listen to the Atlantic


Sillocks: young coalfish

George Mackay Brown: Poems Following a Lark