Poetry Map of Scotland, poem no. 203: Beauly Firth

Scavenging, Coulmore

Landscape and seacoast, this firth lies indeterminate,
Impossible to tell if it’s in advance or retreat.
On mud flats oystercatchers stab for things to eat
And flotsam on its round voyage is now returning.
We’re here to scavenge it as firewood, trimmings
Dumped here on the shingle by the last springtide.
With haste and guilt we bag up all our winnings:
Best are bleached branches that burn green inside.
Here Coulmore’s fields, a twisty road and stony incline
Run in close fellowship, not always so well defined.
We too are here together, yet we often separate
To go about our common purpose. Taking straight
Necessities for life from this boundless location,
Never thinking what must be taken back as reparation.

Simon Berry

Published in A Mask for Grieving & other poems (FTRR Press 2014)

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