From the pier you are taken to see rocks
worn slippery smooth by the sea.
Grey movement lifts the veil of distance
to show seals basking –
not disturbed or even curious about
the cutting of the engines,
the mobile phones raised,
the putt-putt-putt of motor restarting.
You are taken to drift a moment offshore,
on the edge of the reflection of scots pines
in water, to make out a nest in the fork
of great limbs. Out of forget-me-not sky
the bird itself: a sea eagle,
serrated wingspan slicing ever-higher circles
above a scatter of small islands
piled with green scrub.
The jetty is clear of rope and fish-box, offers
benches to wait for the boat back. You pay
the Office of Public Works,
push through the turnstile to skirt
azaleas, magnolias, rhododendrons.
You wind your way inside to an oblong pool
lined with tiles the colour of Ionian,
the snug centre of so many boxes.
First the sea: a living barrier shields
this Edwardian house. At the margins,
glossy hedges deaden stray sound
from the village on the mainland,
amplify peeps and chirrups of finches
and blue tits. Further in,
well-pointed walls, wrought iron gates
open onto colonnades and porticos.
The water in the pool is a glass brick.
Bees and dragonflies on lavender
buzz between ornaments from a tour
of Europe or the Far East.
Boxes within boxes
hide the house from the wild Atlantic,
screen the island with palisades of green
from the country it will soon be returned to.