Will Vigar

a writer of sorts

Ullapool – Remembrance Sunday 2019 (Hebrides)

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i.

 

An unexpected crunching woke me.

Footsteps on gravel; a faint gruffling

as something brushed against

the chalet door; a light clack

 

-and-scrape against the mullions.

Contented grunts sounding as the hart

reached across an asphalt scar,

to steal a mossy treat from beneath

 

the step.  Indifferent to our presence,

prickets came to dine.

 

ii.

 

The jetty, dew frozen onto its surface,

dipped its feet, reflecting

around the still quivering water’s

edge. The air so cold, so tight

 

a well-placed pin could prick it;

the atmosphere into shards

of brittle oxygen. The lake

had frozen – beneath the papercut

 

moon – so quickly a wavelet

could still be seen, threatening

to break, but caught;

apprehended by weather.

 

iii

 

A single-track road, flanked

by quartzite whorls; muricate

gorse and pervious moss

winds through The Lonely Lands.

 

A serpentine polecat flashes its ermine

underbelly as it runs to safety.

Aquiline dangersilhouetted against

whetted blue skies, loses its prey.

 

iv

We arrived to silence and ate

breakfast at a waterside café,

watching the loch breathing

 

through condensation a

that shimmered on painted

silicate. The streets filled

 

with well-dressed and solemn

people –  drawn towards

the harbour where Klondykes

 

– long gone – have returned

the harbour to hushed sound.

 

v

 

The crowd grew, blocking

the roads and the front.

To the west, the focus.

A cenotaph. A solemn finger,

 

pointing to the heavens.

Ullapool exhales and a military

band punctuates the susurrant

silence with morse precision.

 

The harshness of the pipes filtered

by numbed air; softened by frozen

breath. The dulcet brume

-filtered drone whispers

 

its lament over black, rigored

waters. The mountains

by the loch providing

sublime reverberation.

 

vi

 

I glanced to the Brigadoon hills. Mist

slow-raced to the loch – urgent

but languid – before being absorbed

 

into its waters. The reconnection

of mist and loch, a reunion

of mother and child.

 

In the mists of life…

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