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Sunday 5 July

Free morning to explore the island.

Leccamore Dun

Time has tumbled the grey stones,
The fey folk have long gone,
Once hiding huddled here
Fearing loss and death.
The dark closed space
Warming their hearts,
Blood beating hard skulls
And sweat running red
With the heat and rich stench
Of restless, stamping cattle.

Time tumbles our gaudy hopes,
The lark beats the bright air,
Jumping the high winds
Hovering, wings wide,
Opening ground,
Splaying space,
Veiling the grey stone
With brocades of song.
A rich cloth curtain
To hide the cowering man.

Time will not turn these grey rocks,
No horny hands rebuild.
The heron flies a straight course
Steady out to sea.
The heart has no defence
Finding freedom
In the flight,
Body and mind lying
On lichened ruins,
A kensho, cutting raw
All that separates and makes safe.

by Ian Prior

The Atlantic Islands and Geopoetics: Talk by Norman Bissell with contributors from other islands and Discussion.

A filmed message of support for the Festival and Summer School from Scottish Government Culture Minister Michael Russell was shown at the start. Part of what he said was: 

“It’s wonderful to see the people of different west coast islands coming together to create such a varied programme and to take an interest in something which is central to their lives. It promises to be a tremendous week of events and builds on my own interest in geopoetics.”
“These Festivals help us to recognise and celebrate the rich and distinctive cultures of Scotland’s island communities and they contribute to shaping the broader national identity.”
“We have a shared passion for the arts, for the natural and built heritage, and for Scotland’s landscapes and that’s at the very centre of what geopoetics actually is. Meaning and truth are at the heart of this Festival, my best wishes for its success.”

In his talk Norman Bissell outlined how the Atlantic Ocean has played a crucial role in bringing people to the islands of the west coast of Scotland including the Celts, Christian missionaries, the Lords of the Isles and others up to the present day. He argued that an appreciation of the rich natural heritage of the Atlantic Islands and their cultural expression can unite and help to sustain our island communities, especially by establishing an Atlantic Islands Centre on the Isle of Luing. 

A lively discussion ensued with contributors from Easdale Community Trust, Luing Community Council, the Ross of Mull, Belfast, England and other parts of Scotland.

Jim Ferguson on Tannahill: An Introduction to the Life and Work of Paisley Poet and Songster Robert Tannahill (1774-1810).
This talk by poet Jim Ferguson provided a brief outline of Tannahill's biography and discussion of a selection of his poems and songs, focussing on his reaction to the Napoleonic War, his use of imagery from the natural world to represent states of mind, and his anti-slavery lyrics.

Writers’ Night with Jan Sutch Pickard from the Ross of Mull, Jim Ferguson from Glasgow and others.
Jan Sutch Pickard is a poet and storyteller living in Bunessan on the Ross of Mull who relishes the place and its contrasts and whose two collections of poems Out of Iona and Between high and low water are published by Wild Goose.  Jim Ferguson is a writer and poet based in Glasgow. He has been writing and publishing since 1987 and is presently a tutor with Easterhouse Writers' Group in Glasgow's East End. His collection "the art of catching a bus and other poems" is published by AK Press.

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