Poetry Map of Scotland poem no. 33: Pap of Glencoe

Pap of Glencoe

Upwards,
we climb some puny feet
to sixty-six short of a Corbett.
The shape shifter rain
turns on its host in an echo
of the massacre in the snow.

Rain to sleet sleet to hail hail to rain.
We climb in the emperor's new waterproofs.
Remember man that thou art water
and unto water thou shalt return.
You fell three times on this Calvary,
this blasted ben,

and vanished into a mistless mist.
Cupping my blue fingertips,
I shouted your name and my futility
at the shape shifters
and the far peace of Loch Leven
over a daunting yonder.

I found you again,
beneath the inscrutable Pap.
You both took my breath away.
'Turn back' you said in unison.
'Try again another day.'
Downwards.

 

John Quinn
Previously published in Poet and Geek (2014)

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