Adam Thorpe

For every booming bittern there are ten,
for every cliff-stacked gannet mass

there is at least one with his clingfilmed
lunch-pack, wringing his socks on St Kilda.

This is surety of sorts. That the index finger
will go on twitching till the loch

gives up its greylag, the moor its merlin,
that even the chough has its hangers-on

grim-jawed on outcrops where the breakers’ sting
assures Him that all the aeons’ messy fuss

holds some of them in thrall, despite the mockery.
When the Trumpets sound, drowning the guillemots,

when the souls rise like a billion fulmars
discarding behind them the stink of cerements,

when even the dotterel has shrilled its last
over the wrathful tussocks of Beinn Bhreac Mhor

He’ll be there with his binoculars and notebook
spotting them: the Chosen, the ones who bothered,

the twits who noted His miraculous exactitude
all day in everything He could throw at them.