Honeybee, Inner Hebrides

We sail to the Garvellachs with an autumn wind

along the string of islands. Heading out over the waves,

a honeybee lands on the guardrail of the yacht.

Ginger-brown and banded, he is a lost forager

 

who travels with us, resting to regain strength.

Where the gap is navigable, we put in at a place

of sheltered creek and grassy hollow. A few steps

and we drink at the miraculous well of sweet water

 

dashed by salt spray. The beehive cells nearby

are circles of stone, overlapping slabs, a domed roof.

It takes a whole rocky island to make a single drop

of honey. How far to fly? A solitary bee arrives

 

who grips the hazel-rod rim of a coracle, till he flies

up and off rapidly, to find the golden honeycomb.

 

 

 


from The Cream of the Well: New and Selected Poems (Luath Press, 2014), © Valerie Gillies 2014, used by permission of the author

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Valerie Gillies

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1A Cycle of Poems Bird for Bird

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2A Sapling Greyhound

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3Bass Rock

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4Clydesdale Clydesdale

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5Cody Dancing

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6Cool Cap

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7Eagle Bone Whistle

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8Fellow Passenger

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9Fieldwalkers

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10Frog Spring

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11Glencolumcille

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12Gougane Beara

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13Gress o the Forest

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14Heavenly Aqua

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15Honeybee, Inner Hebrides

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16Lepus

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17Meadow Brown

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18Mermaid Pool

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19Mine Howe, Orkney

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20Ravendean Burn

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21Reeds

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22Robert Burns' Mither at the Well

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23Shepherd's Calendar

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24Song Sparrow

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25St Medana's Well

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26The Black Bike

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27The Canto of Tweed's Mouth

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28The Ericstane Brooch

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29The Green Well of Scotland

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30The Harp to Aeolus

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31The Rant of the Trows

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32The Rink

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33The Sealstone of Caracalla

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34Viking Boy

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35Wedding in Stobo Kirk

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36While I was Away

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