Postcards from Malthusia DAY FIFTY-FOUR: Marion McCready

The Solitude Stone


I saw a painted stone on a bench on the arc
of the West Bay decorated like the evil eye
charms that followed us across Greece
and Turkey. Smooth black rock: like a tiny
torpedo or basking shark embellished
with a rainbow of polka dots; the word
‘solitude’ bold in white letters across
the centre. In solitude I can’t stop eating.
As if solitude woke a hunger that cannot
be filled. If I eat the stone of solitude
it will break apart inside of me.
The solitude stone is a sort of heraldic
shield with its gyronny, charge, helm
and crest. Solitude has become my motto.
I wear solitude like the pearl necklace
passed down from my grandmother;
as a child I played with the pearls
on her dressing table. Daily, I come
to the shore and the stone speaks to me
like the horse’s head in a Grimm’s fairy-tale
shouting out the truth each time I pass by.
This amulet will protect me from the eye
of the storm. And my pearl necklace
will save me from hungers yet unknown.



Marion McCready lives in Dunoon, Argyll. Her poems have been published widely including in Poetry, Edinburgh Review and the Glasgow Herald. She won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award in 2013 and the Melita Hume Poetry Prize for her first full-length collection Tree Language (Eyewear Publishing 2014). Her second collection Madame Ecosse was published in 2017, also by Eyewear Publishing.


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