A poem for a painting

Apropos my painting, published yesterday, here is the sequel...

From Tollie Farm on Loch Maree

Looking down at clean, peat-filtered water,
unmoving by the twisted roots of this old oak,
reflecting snows on great Beinn Airidh Charr
and deep below, dark shapes that might
be great sea-trout or salmon, but are not
anymore; for we who wash self over all,
have washed them out and I can only see
the rock of age that cradles Loch Maree.

And over there's a slow decaying trace
of things folk had in pleasure known when
ferryboats and all the world ran slow,
to disembark their charges at that landing stage.
And I can see the ladies' wind-blown hair,
long skirts, hands holding hats and parasols
and men who gladly helped them come ashore
not really needing, as do we, much more.

This glistry mirror's now in wintry mood,
now some cool passageway for dreams,
conceived from rain on Scottish hills
born in slow trickling burns, enjoined,
enforced, to make that helter-skelter way
back to the waiting arms of mother sea.
But here's this waiting room, no swirly threat,
as simply, lovely lies calm Loch Maree.

Bryan Islip
January 2009

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