‘The Smallest Distillery in Scotland’ – a poem by Ben Verinder


    The Smallest Distillery in Scotland


Donaghy found me behind the whisky
stills and suffered my story: faith, boiled down
to a mash of schoolboy memory -
the creaking pew, shot of hymn, blood trickles down
the gaunt white lolling face, that feeling someone
famous just left the room. Highland monks,
he said, distilled the wort they christened
uisge beatha to treat colic and the mumps.
If the spirit failed, they would ‘commend you
to the light, where all reliable accounts conclude’.
His words, repeated, flush my throat. There
was an ending - a refined measure of proof
conjured by an angel’s share just before
he evaporated through the mould-black roof.


Ben Verinder

About Ben Verinder

Ben Verinder is the biographer of adventurer, writer and curator Mary Burkett. His work has appeared in Brittle Star, Lighthouse and The Harlequin, among other places, as well as being shortlisted for the Plough Poetry Prize. He runs a reputation research and management agency.