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Storm Glass


Storm Glass

- Hugh McMillan (U.K.)


After the solar storm of 1859
when the skies of the world
turned lemon, umber and plum
and the North Atlantic boiled

swallowing men and boats,
the government sent
state of the art storm glasses
to fishing villages across

the land with directions
in English and Gaelic.
The glasses were useless
of course - the sea was too

quick even for a skipper’s
eye and the rain forecasting
on the roof was more accurate-
but long after the glass

was broken the instructions
could be seen on cottage walls

browning under an official stamp
like small poems or prophecies:

‘Mas ann air làithean grianach a'

Gheamhraidh a bhios rionnagan

bìodach san lionn, mar sin a bhios
bochdainn romhainn.’

If the liquid contains tiny stars
on sunny winter days,
then it is certain that
bad times are coming.