Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 111: Inverbeg

Inverbeg, Loch Morar

Maighstir Macdonell of Morar you must have been
an extraordinary man. You left this loch and hills
to hone your conversation with God in Spain:
they built this tiny chapel for your return,

and surely I too would have set my hands to stone
to hew and carry and heft it into place
for you. And I would have trudged
the rocky paths down mountains, tramped

through juniper and bracken, rowed
a frail boat across the loch, to reach
your words. For sixty years you preached
here, and must have grown wise with all the prayers

you ever needed answered in the glint of sun
on the loch at the chapel's door, the gleam
of pebbles on the shore, the green scent of
bracken, constellations of rust red moss.

Now sixteen sheep sit outside nibbling the grass
as if biding time for your sermon
and the wind sends white waves
like latecomers scurrying across the loch.

Dorothy Baird

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