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The visitors’ book at the Knoydart bothy

June 10, 2018

Three hundred miles by train and bus,
fifteen on foot, just to spend a night
with the woman I love. Has it come to this?
I read in muted peat firelight.

I pictured him: a wife, two kids,
a month of scheming, then to crest
a ridge and share a gasp amidst
this vast, receding endlessness;

a mutual glance, his arm around
her shoulder, hers about his waist;
their futures and dilemmas drowned
by silence, resonance and space.

And his exquisite moment pierced
my carapace, exquisitely.
The peat smoke lifted acrid fears
across the room, and clung to me

thereafter, placing next ahead
of now: glimpsed oceans, distant peaks
still beckoned but dispersed – the red
armada, drifting out of reach.

And so I traded wilderness
for suburbs where, late nights, I draw
peat smoke, uncanny loneliness
and mountains: shadows on the wall.

 

Published in Pennine Platform No 83

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