A’Chomraich – Marjory Woodfield


He says it isn’t far
to walk. A walled garden
and café. To beat the rain we take the bracken path,
earth lichen-green and faded gold.
Skye’s swathed in cloud,
stone walls hold tangled branches.

I picked her lilies once. Today, low-branching
trees hold this sanctuary close. So far
away the memories cloud.
I gathered roses from her garden,
now home fades, leaves turn to gold
along another path.

Downhill, our path
meanders. Branches.
There’s a sign. Gold
fruit lies on the ground. We order coffee, sit in a far
corner where orange flowers flow over garden
beds. Hold hot drinks close as sky darkens, overclouds.

Shore Street & Applecross Inn. Clouds
part. Rain on the foreshore, pebbled paths.
Judy cuts kale from her garden,
makes soup. Adds a small branch
of thyme. Parsley sprigs. This inn, small street and church. So far
away. Leaves fall and turn to gold.

Kelp gathers on the sand. Neptune’s necklace, tarnished gold.
Black-faced sheep, crofting cottages on clouded
hills. Clachan Church. Swallows nest under eaves, fly far
away. Neat rows of tombstones. Her name. Bare branches.
Briar rose. Brambles against a wall. A green garden
set in stone, held safe by hills and sea. We choose another path.

I pick up shells. I’ll place them in my garden
when we’re back. The sun sets gold.
Light draws lines through seashore branches.
Waves are wild, sky taut with cloud.
At Milltown we turn to take the path
back to the inn. It’s straight and far.

We leave the gardens, Inn and Clachan Church. Low cloud
on Bealach na Ba. An ancient cattle track with burns and bracken paths.
Leaves fall from branches, turn to gold. We’ve come so far.

Marjory Woodfield appears in The Blue Nib, The High Window, London Grip, and the 2020 Ver Poetry Competition Anthology. She gained third prize in the Yeovil International Literary Prize (2020), was shortlisted in the Cinnamon Literature Award (2020), and the Bath Novella-in-Flash Competition (2020).

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