Thursday 25 April 2019


Renault's versatile masterpiece, yellow traffic,
is traversing the Cairngorms via the A93.
Accomplished artist, my other half,
takes in the grandeur, mentally filing it for later.

It's a crisp clear morning. He will later invent
a blizzard and two struggling climbers
clinging on for dear life to a rocky precipice.
Suicidal endeavour! The poet projects her awareness

into their shoes: the terror of falling, the cold sweat
and overwhelming sense of vertigo. Then
a triumphant rush of adrenaline as they haul
themselves finally over the summit...
only to disappear into the dense, drifting cloud.

Friday 19 April 2019


A tragic shade wanders here in sorrow
through a time turning widdershins.
She seems unaware of my presence as
she haunts these forsaken ruins.

Close by now, how softly she whimpers,
so mournfully it breaks my heart.
As she passes me by with a rustling of silk,
the veil is torn apart.

For almost two centuries she's been trapped here
in shock and disbelief.
The past recorded in old stone walls
is restless as an autumn leaf.

No living Soul has been able to reach her,
although many down the years have tried.
But, just now, as her tortured gaze met mine -
oh such pleading in those soft brown eyes!

On a sleepless night, outside my window
such a pitious wail fills the air.
On the breeze it's carried over rooftop and field
and the startled owls leave their lair.

What can be the source of such pain and when will
the strands of her story knit up
in my consciousness so I can offer relief?
Oh please let it be by sun-up.

I ask, I make my own vague assumptions,
yet the sad truth's been here all along.
It's a case of learning to read the stones
and feeling their ancient song:

of forming pictures through sensitive hands -
a neural pathways' breech,
in order to map out another's life
that time's rendered out of reach.

Flash of cognition: two young Victorians
and a love that flouts class divide.
An incensed father, mortified and enraged
at the disgrace to his family pride.

He's discovered them together beside woodland pond
and had the young servant beaten
then unceremoniously thrown off his land
to lie bleeding and mentally browbeaten.

His daughter's protests are the final straw -
it pushes him over the edge.
In a terrible fury and overcome with shame -
village gossip is the worst sacrilege -

he drags her screaming to the water's edge
and hastily pushes her in,
then holds her beneath the cold water 'til
all struggling ceases within.

Then stark realisation of what he's done:
a bitter remorse grips his mind
and the ghastly vision of hangman's noose
brings a terror undefined.

So later that night beneath moonless sky,
he retrieves her lifeless form
and smuggles it home then torches the house,
attempting to the law misinform.

Well, to cut a potentially long story short,
I'm sure you can guess the rest.
It wasn't the father who hung by the neck,
but the poor lover though he tried to protest.

Oh I hope that now the truth is out
this sad little ghost will be laid.
Yet, within these ruins on this warm spring eve
still a chill the air seems to pervade...

Saturday 13 April 2019


I trudged through the mud - the clinging mud,
the sloppy and heavy dung-coloured mess.
Plodding along the well worn path,
the terrain anomalous yet familiar;
a path back to antiquity
and the Prophet's youth -
during the mildest and wettest March on record:
a two mile trek through utter quagmire.

I came to the Hermit's Cell
in the heavily wooded twilight.
Just enough filtered light
to make out the doorway, to enter
and experience the atmosphere.
I touched the crumbling stone walls.
They felt strangely warm beneath their covering of moss.
They exuded the mustiness
of the era I sought. This place was
secluded, alive with the very essence of my past and future
spiritual heritage - the inner Sisterhood:
old, earthy, Elemental Beings in flowing
hooded robes, with bright all-seeing eyes.

I sat on a fallen corner stone
and took out my flask, my sandwiches.
But I couldn't eat or drink - it felt too sacrilegious.
I was here for a much more profound reason than to picnic -
my re-dedication to the Path.
I took out my Runes
and laid out seven of them chosen at random on a stone.
But I couldn't interpret their message. Concentration
deserted me amid that rustling dead bracken,
where the cold wind chilled me to the bone.

So I wandered through the ruin. Did He know, I wonder,
how intently I listened to His absence -
this ghostly intruder with her unorthodox notions,
beside the bat-infested fireplace, in a sudden downpour?
So precise and prophetic an omen that it gave her goosebumps.
The tiny annex, His study room,
with it's fallen-in window and sound of the waterfall,
and the sheer drop beneath that He loved to explore,
and the river in the valley below where He once tickled trout.
All had been patiently awaiting my arrival. I could feel it.
And the broken steps leading down
to a cavern of Dark Age echoes
I'd inadvertently stirred up by my presence.
Listening there, at the bottom of the steps,
to the gentle murmuring of the wind
was like listening to the wild utterances of Merlin himself
during His maddest and most prophetic phase.

This ruinous monument, all the more precious to me
for His formative years spent there in embryonic omnipotence,
imbued me with a mental clarity
immutable as a history set in stone.
I was reborn in that February sunset.
And, shuttered by skeletal boughs,
the fallen stones emitted an eerie glow -
as if the sun had set there, inside the cavern.

I devoured the experience as I began to retrace my steps
(dreading the lethal mud in darkness).
I peered into the gloom as if into the past:
into His world, protected and magical,
of which (although totally ignorant of it at the time)
I had eternally been a part.