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Valerie Gillies’ poems are of a startling clarity. The precision of thought and image that...
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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