Martin Malone

To the Ardmore shore

A final day here, you grasp at last chances, stop
in the Forestry Commission car park and walk
their track to the Ardmore shore. Lime flurries
of siskin greet you at the brake of pines,
downslope, a snipe explodes into flight
but a foot from your boot and otter spraint
dots the track where it narrows. At the shore,
you splash through mud to a hide and sit
awhile out of the mizzle, though out there,
nowt but a lone heron hangs on improbable wings
beating half-time across the rhythm of waves
on basalt. No camera today and no point,
though dreich’s a colour too, more fitting,
sometimes, than summer greens or blue.
The hide is slowly rotting in this damp
its chipboard floor springy and holed.
Beyond the Point, Ardnamurchan
offers its ghost through relentless grey
and the whole day’s animated like Coraline.
The track back – past the ship-roped cairn,
through pine stumps and a lost village –
is post apocalyptic, somehow more McCarthy’s
The Road than aimiable stroll: overall, a look
I could get used to, many have too.

Born in County Durham, Martin Malone now lives in north-east Scotland. He has published three poetry collections: The Waiting Hillside (Templar, 2011), Cur (Shoestring, 2015), The Unreturning (Shoestring 2019) and a Selected Poems 2005 – 2020: Larksong Static (Hedgehog 2020).