by Alison McFaul

I’m the wife of a “Swiss Army knife

Of a man”,  as he’s been described.

He’s a “hardy, independent Islander”

Born into  that vanishing  tribe.


An Islander is not the same as

Someone from the city, or town

Or even a farmer or country  man 

If they don’t have the sea all around.


The Islander’s not just a blow-in

Who’s come for the style and the craic.

The Islander’s part of the fabric

A connection we others still lack.


True Islanders live for their island

They don’t want to be  going elsewhere

They  can get everything that they need here

And always the fresh salty air.


Sometimes  they may leave but their heart stays.

And  they know  how to handle a  boat 

In the tides round  the island for fishing;

At home,  both on land and afloat.

The Islander’s island,  they treasure.

For their history is closely entwined

The cliffs and the shoreline and hilltops

Hold old stories they still bring to mind.


The lure of an island is scenic

The tourists flock here for the view

They may spend their time and their money

But they’ll never be one of those few.


True Islanders living on Rathlin

Are declining into the past.

The influence of  the mainland

Is creeping up on the life here, fast.  



Alison McFaul