One for sorrow
A fan of piebald primaries
Woven through the rough grass of the headland.
Downed by the hawk
Then butchered by Reynard
Or so I thought.
Until I caught
A single feather’s blue-green sheen
Shining like oil on water,
The glint in the keeper’s eye.
One for sorrow. Hello, Magpie.
The words I seek
Don’t live in my town
But out here,
Shining, sea-wet, in the sand
Flying in skeins
Resting on rocks
Or perched in trees
Half-seen out at sea
Or round sudden bends in the narrow cliff-path.
With the poacher’s patience
And fisherman’s finesse
I can catch them
Hold them for a moment
Before they wriggle free
Leaving only their warmth behind.
And a single juicy one in the bag
Is all it takes to feed me.
Il fait du brouillard
The blinded lighthouse
Calls out in the gloom
Its foghorn telling the misty minutes
Like a doleful speaking clock.
There’s a Hebridean sting of salt
In the sea-smoke wrapped around the headland
Like a scarf; and the summer beaches
Are veiled and secret, empty, Arctic white.
The gulls and waders could tell me
Where I am; beneath the sky-cloak
They chatter heedless, brash and jeering,
Safe in their local knowledge.
Not that I’m asking. A dog, the dunes
And the distant booming of the surf
On the reefs far out are all the signs I need:
I am here. Now. And all is well.