Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Uamh an Oir / Cave of Gold

There is a darkness
Where waves sleep out the winter
And out of which the mists of time
Slyly slip unnoticed
To hang moist upon the still, grey sea.

Such a place is where the living fear to go
Even with a lifetime of songs inside their hearts,
Even with willing hands and pipes to play them on.

Only two hands. More's the pity.

Sunday, 25 January 2015


I wear awa ower heather stiles.
It's a track wi nae renegin'.
The tractor roads I'd aince tae tread
Are ahin my present leggin'.

But still there's wires and rotten posts,
The marks o' man's construction.
Even here up high on Foudland's slopes
The air smells o' restriction.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Things of Stone

Cold steel and slavery once enforced servitude;
But we are free now to live by other obligations.

Whips became rules,
Shackles, a regulatory framework
On which the days coagulate
Like blood clots, until the living,
Or the half-alive, stumble,
Thrombosed and breathless.

Friday, 23 January 2015

Carbon Cycle


Long before
Our meticulous schemes
Went up in smoke,
We were residue:
The stars’ dry dust.

Burned already.

At our feet, charred remains
Rub marks across another kind of page,
Reticulated, blackened wood,
Fired and fissured, friable to the touch,
The hatching of an image,
Or, perhaps, a memory.

The ashes were cold
By the time we woke;

Then, a hundred million suns
Until we scratched even a line on a stone
Or discovered combustion for ourselves.

Sunday, 18 January 2015


Wet streets glisten.
Traffic hiss rises, falls,
Joins the downpour's rythm,
Lost in transit.

An urban tinnitus
Thrums in the head
Like nervous energy
Tight and subdural, deafened.

Shrill sound compresses,
Dies in the eddying wind.

Hurtling transport's wheelspray
Turns the eyes blind.
Shadow fragments capture each other
In the shapeless drizzle.
So much starlight,
Far from heaven,
Scattering drop by drop.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Urban Spacemen

A door flung open. Wet spray rattled across the linoleum, echoing the sloping rain in the night outside. A chill moment hung in the too-warm air and its bitter beer-swill fug. Maxwell Dargie heaved into a barstool that had seen better days. The door slammed on its wire springs behind him.

'Gie’s a pint, Cherlie! I’ve got a thirst like a badger’s airse!'

Dargie’s pint of the usual materialised on the bar-top.

Tastes better in a straight gless, appreciated Dargie, lifting the pint skyward, eyeing it with more affection than he had mustered for his manic charge along Princes Street.

On whose pavements, Dargie had swept headlong past crowds, while the rain fell in puddles around his feet. He was oblivious to the passing passers-by, the shop-front windows. Princes Street rain, sharp and reflective, made its inhabitant faces sharp in turn, to the point of enmity.

Dargie ignored the crowds in the manner of a down-and-out. He pushed through them with drunken uncertainty, weaving a little, threatening to touch an arm or a shoulder. He made the danger of intrusion his mask. A path opened up before him. No-one wanted his grainy, skinny face breathing God-knows what stale guff in theirs. No-one wanted to be confronted with whatever anger drove him to stotter down the rain-soaked street to prop up some boozy dive with his mean and probably nefariously supplemented dole.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Broken Shadow

Night time in woodland.
The soft whisper of summer
Swallowed by rain.

Leaves’ resistance holds back the drops
And the tired grass tries to sleep
Beneath the moonrisen clouds.
Wet, reflective birches rise
Over the huddled stones’ moss.

Leached of colour,
Half-remembered light reaches down
Like time stilled before it can pass,
In the dim early hours,
Rain receding.