★ ★ ★ ★
Image by Gary Ellis
Tossing about on board the first boat
of the season to set a northerly course
towards the rocks of Staffa,
you hinted at the loneliness
of your orientation.
Later, on the beach,
you showed me the smooth
green stones they call
selected a perfect one
and placed it gently in my palm.
As evening shadows deepened
you celebrated our new-found friendship
by inviting me to the ancient unfrequented
chapel behind the abbey, where you sang
Mary’s lullaby just for me, your clear sweet
tenor voice chiming with Celtic cadences
as it stroked the stones, sanctifying the space
and rising to join the astonished choirs of angels.
Alwyn Marriage’s fourteen books include poetry, fiction and non-fiction – recently Rapeseed and The Elder Race (novels), and Pandora’s pandemic and Possibly a Pomegranate (poetry). Formerly a university philosophy lecturer and CEO of two international literacy and literature NGOs, she’s Managing Editor of Oversteps Books and research fellow at Surrey University. marriages.me.uk/alwyn