Avril – by A.R.

My mother lived over 20 years on the island of Graemsay in Orkney, in a home called “Clett”. My father died there in 1995 and within years, in her 50s, my mother – Avril – was diagnosed with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. Cared for for many years by a gracious community in the island she loved, here is a poem, written by a friend on the island. Copyright A.R.


‘Avril’  by A.R.  February 2007


If you came by Windbreck over the hill

or by Scarataing under the broken cliffs

to the silent house above the shore

it would be the same: your wall stands firm

and the tall ships of your willows blow

and all is well.


The raggle-taggle fuchsia by the garden door

in hard midwinter waits

and in the rank grass sleeping now,

Veronica, wild iris, rose, montbretia, meadowsweet

in innocence and silence wait

and all is well.


A stone hut by the shore

stone on stone to the eaves,

a flagged roof, a plank door.

Remains of tackle, tar, caulk, creel,

scraps of net like lace.


The season passes.

From the South West a breeze

bringing hope and resurrection.


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