“LEONARDO ON RATHLIN”: Sam Burnside. (Written after Cahal Dallat took the John Hewitt Summer School to Rathlin Island on Wednesday 2nd August 1989).





“What would da Vinchi,

Have made of that leg? 

Knee bent, hooked over nothing;

Severed at the ankle-bone;

Going nowhere fast.

An old stepping-stone Stood in a cauldron;

That’s boiling up myths Gory as ten sunsets;

Footless and gormless:

He would have dissected,

And peeled back The thick skin, constructed

A foot, and a boot;

Engaged the muscles

Somehow, with pulley,

And long strong rope looped

Around the Paps of Jura

And that erect rock At Carrick-a-rede.

With a bit of science

Like that, with a bit

Of art like that, Leonardo

Could have straightened things out.”

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