Honeybee, Inner Hebrides
We sail to the Garvellachs with an autumn wind
along the string of islands. Heading out over the waves,
a honeybee lands on the guardrail of the yacht.
Ginger-brown and banded, he is a lost forager
who travels with us, resting to regain strength.
Where the gap is navigable, we put in at a place
of sheltered creek and grassy hollow. A few steps
and we drink at the miraculous well of sweet water
dashed by salt spray. The beehive cells nearby
are circles of stone, overlapping slabs, a domed roof.
It takes a whole rocky island to make a single drop
of honey. How far to fly? A solitary bee arrives
who grips the hazel-rod rim of a coracle, till he flies
up and off rapidly, to find the golden honeycomb.
from The Cream of the Well: New and Selected Poems (Luath Press, 2014), © Valerie Gillies 2014, used by permission of the author.