Hutton’s Unconformity, Siccar Point, Berwickshire, Scotland

“The day feels infinitely long. We’ve come here / for this.”

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The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking
so far back into the abyss of time . . .
— John Playfair

The day feels infinitely long. We’ve come here
for this. To give a greater sense to our finite
moments through glimpsing an abstract mass
of rock. Past the Brittonic dun and ancient
parish chapel falling beyond its second half-life
to a place we’d surely miss but for its present
historical significance. It’s where history begins.
Or, rather, where giddy minds are left to plumb
their deeper misconceptions of deep time.
Either way, the here-and-now proves irrefutably
selfie-worthy. And so we stare into the screen
for a brief stay against mortality. That other
timeline we update with catastrophic regularity.
We’ll be scrolling to this point our whole lives.

Tarn MacArthur lives in Edinburgh and is at work on his first collection of poetry. He was previously the Walter and Nancy Kidd Fellow in Creative Writing at the University of Oregon.

This article appears in the 02 February 2017 issue of the New Statesman, American carnage

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