Issue 18: <author name>

Raasay slideshow

Raasay Iron Mine 1912-1942

The documentary form asks only for what’s viable

Given the sea’s great indifference

And the mountain’s great indifference given

There used to be treasure in the pit                                                                                      heugh

That was ate stood with water up to their knees

But today, ferric rain: a cloud deposits orange onto leaf and

Debars the old mine from futurity to talk                                               mèinn

Around the element is to respect

An asperity of tunnels shot through the gneiss split

Myriad divided and multiferrous shale                                                               blaes

Selves a carnal memory of extraction

Corridors damp with mineral spread upper                                               alchymy

Gorse sentinels guard the hunt for origin with

Dirtied orifice the oolitic

Salvage for mineral bloom                                                                                                       excambion

Ruin season the ore the

Cooked labour echo-

Lalia; now the metal detector informs on its kin

Hid features turned inwards

Like a mineshaft or depression but the mind is                             wreck

Predatory all soft matter seeking relic

Of industry, moss and bracken bangs

Clung to bank the mine mouth                                        fankled

Closed its throat plucked bare now residue

Forest reclaims with fragments:

WA  N           OLD



Pause, sniff, lick the sodden planks don’t

Ask the weather lapsing overhead or iron’s                                                    maggie-blaes

Sticky participate stretched orange into sea

The sludge bed bloom between ferrous toes

Settle instead under corrugate, a sheet                                                             barges

Waxed from earth to leave raw strip smarting

Like hangnail pulled to bone its folding                               dook

Is a difficult language, mimicking land’s

Crumple to mountains, warping parental

Orogenous zones this corrugation is baby talk

Little echoscape, little terraform

They found the island cracked

With growing pains woke early in the century to

Shoot tunnels and flood with employ was considered the organic                         trowhole

Thing in the sense of workable lungs harpooned

Of indigenous will and otherwise ferried then three

Decades later island winced and rolled over                                     toom

Dùn Caan flatline

Left machinery scanty and mine mouths stoppered

Trestle, viaduct and parapet

Still leaky consolation to                                                                                            taigle the cleek

Give up the document


This light is getting nothing no caul of worksong

Teutonic undertone or standard issue boot on

Stone no homoacoustics of metal

On metal no head scuff on cave

Roof which is sky lidded on reverse                                                                                                          tirr

Shadowplay: to begin in the day and mulch

Down to night with quartz star and filigree

Asterism look up as night drips face

Mouth nose eyes you                                                              braird

Mineralise would the damp then be a mirror

Peddled between two nights: one for your dry foot,

The other a rice field, ice judders steering your

Back clamped vice-like to earth you begin to address as                        burthen

‘She’, shuttle and clog through veins, the wrong way down                                          gaw

‘Her’ one-way stream

Nubs of dismantlable self stuck

Fast there prised with tools marking not-

Ations in lacustrine dark where shadows are the

Inheritors of bodies riddled with

Tinnitus of industry and

Arthritis of industry that live on in bone and tissue where                                                            thimble

A woman’s echo is a profane thing

Hallucinate treasure where deep enough the rock

Will coo and sing and girders rust to


Striate this hauntology of drops


Or by the old entrance your body a

Cursor hovering over slate marking one

End a headstone where work was reborn each day                                      darg

Trackbed from the shaft into light lain through banks of wetsuit                              wyper-shaft

Moss and batting fern memorial strapped

Like limpets see these memories

Everywhere: even the bracken droops with

Rust and the autumn is seasonal rust                                                   white-damp

And the tree-leaves rust and fall like stones and the sky

Rusts the skies rust

The sky


Is extraction always violence frames the mine

Puckering its mouths with the question

The verdant drip became stalactitial and ore

Hardened in the blood when people clattered to the

Floor like utensils a

Factory line of pins and parts

Caesarean sections the bracken and oil a clean                                   pourie

Incision the Princess Steel still waiting for her prision

With tongs in the earthgut, the membrane perforator

Forceps and fillet, vectis and crochet, decap-

Itating hook and cleidotomy skewers                                                                        cleek

‘She’ couldn’t deal with the excess of herself

Now deposit in the miners’ lungs pebbles

Under miners’ fingernails the miners’

Napes the miners’ sinuses the

Miner’s sociability the miners’ oral narrative potential

Old mine wheezes over the Sound treetops

Misted to valley and peak, ferry

On the water, ferrous under foot

Trod hard with indenture whose last sliver of                                                                        orra man

Daylight and flit of tree, fern speck, crag wort and sky leaf

Patch of cloud before guzzled into rock now dis-

Inclined to sleep indoors internalise the tunnel                                         cuddie-brae

Mineralise the psyche encrusting

Speech but we could sit outside the mine and have a cup of tea

I could bring a flask and if the weather holds the weather

Holds it all together we


I disagree with discolouration because the

Authentic colour is precisely the lack of it says

The lichen and I am generally supportive of deviation from the

Authentic as birdsong clots the entrance with                                                   whin-gaw

Lyric transcendence and statistics whir through soil

Demanding my attention yes

Unwelcome domus sprung around the mouth like                ‘ca

Impetigo children play yellowing

Out to the corrugate waves sporting

Sores and wounds arroyos of

Ochre the azure streak dapple

The goose-bumped island once trampled with heat                                                                       steg

An effigy to ‘Her’ on the harbour a heifer

Of oxidised limbs gone skyward tits

To the heavens orifice to

Origin land purpling bruise then

Burst over velveteen wipe-down

Audience clutching a black and white photo

Of the harbour the hopper the furnace                                                  yoke

The veritable relics of industry reflection

Of the audience in monochrome gloss the camera it

Also informs on its kin

Note: Scottish mining terms from

Daisy Lafarge is studying for a PhD in Glasgow. Her work has appeared in publications such as Poetry London, Poetry Review and The White Review (online). A pamphlet is forthcoming from Sad Press.