We went walking with hotel guests,

released from their three day conference.

Property Bond delegates

up to enlarge their portfolio,

adding the nearby old Coo Palace at Borgue.


Strolling the Cally Estate grounds,

freed from round table talk,

role play, consideration of financial figures,

the delegates breathed wood scented air,

donned sturdy shoes and outdoor clothes.


Fragments of chat filled the forest.

Vied with trickle and tinkle of

Asshouse Strand burn,

frogmarched from the lake

to channel water to town.


Between commissions and property sales,

the delegates learned of the

'recreational trees' classed as having,

'no great value'. I swear a sigh swayed

through the woods.


Some guests viewed the holly tree

ringed by rusted railings,

hazarded guesses,

'Was it a Jubilee Tree?' or,

'Could there have been dabblers in the occult?'


Others considered Laundry Cottage,

imagined lives and labours

from another time, another world.

Cloud-white sheets forest-ferried.


Guide informed, guests listened,

paired up with a colleague here,

caught up with a guest there.

pertinent questions back and forth;

like some green forest dance.


A red squirrel scuttled unnoticed

across the approaching party's path.

Evening dinner in china crockery beckoned.

In the woods, under star-studded Dark skies,

furred nocturnal creatures returned to the Temple.


Liz Niven


The Temple: Diary

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