It’s how the wind strikes the face.

like being lifted in a dancer’s arms

to the sound of a music

that is filled with memories and promise.

And there you were, face alight

silent laughter filling your body

with a bounce and a restless

kinetic urgency drawn from the waves.

You’re like a child, free at last

from the burden of a daily care

and allowed to run wildly

and to daub your paint on your canvas.

A setting out, froth and spray

a salt cleaning of all those mistakes

that have crushed and silted you,

weighed you down and turned your shoulders inward.

There ahead, blown towards us,

heralded by the cries of seagulls

find a climb to the wildness

of mountain ridges and simplicity.

It’s only now on this quay

that the struggle out of a darkness

of a misapprehension

can be seen in the glinting of your eyes.

On passing Tryvan

imageThe old man slept in the clouds

Nose turned to find the scent of heaven

Beyond the reach of my footsteps.

Spurned, I sped past, intent

On the same search by a different route.

Not that the raw simplicity,

The bare rock and the wind,

The strain of muscle and sinew,

The idea of completion,

Did not tug at me.

But I sped past, intent

On finding the still voice

In the interplay

Of melodic lines, rooted

In human endeavour

The Woods


No history has carved a memory

In these woods. No folk melodies breathe here

In the mists of morning. The old pines lean

Helpless and dying where the storms have blown.

The gnarled hands of working men have bypassed

These crippled oaks. Stones lie where God placed them,

Nursing the disorder of creation.

The wooded hill bookends urban stories

Of the glow of blown glass, of the clamour

Of forged tools, of the chatter of tradesmen.

Trees lean back staring vacantly where winds

Sweep the far hills with melancholic verse.

They look to the skies for the songs they know,

From times beyond the reach of history,

And they sing them in the shiver of bones.

From the Machair Sands


We walked the sands in silence.

The music came from a beat

outside time as the rolling world

sang through the sea’s fall.

To say the sands were white;

To say the sea was blue;

To say the mountains cased

our view with grandeur;

these words would deceive you.

We were in colours that glowed

through us, through our core

and took away all words

and stretched us across the beach

in dumb enchantment.



The roads tiptoe across the rock-studded

land, tripping between dark pools and peat-scrapes.

They’re like tourists in an ancient culture –

a surface noise that slips across the truth

of the island where always the wind is king.

Homes hunker down trying not to be seen

by the shrieking rage of regal vengeance

once it has wiped the fixed grin of Summer

from its fury. It yearns to scour the earth,

to scrub it until the old bare sculpted

rock shines new and clean in the Winter cold.

Only the patterns of lichen as friends,

the wind wraps its solitude in wildness

and hurls the rain at shivering heartbeats.

The Circle and the Stone

Round up the wagons
Build the round houses
We’re back in the time of the henges
When restless folk shift
Through the unknown

Once we could swagger
Coins in our pocket
Our futures packed safe in countries
Where killing hides, boxed,

Squared off, rectilinear – a ͚rightness͛
Claimed for stability and ownership
Of place – ͚right͛ angles established the rights
On which certainty we could stand, explore
And harvest the exotic, the playful.

There was no need for
Circles defending
The hope for our tribe͛s survival.
But watch the dead hand
Write on the wall.

A Child Moves

That first night I went into town.
Through unknown streets.
It was the start of something
I can now see.
But then, I existed unseen
Between a known past of play,
Woodlands and sunshine,
And an unknown future of work,
Pavements and grey clouds.
On this walk, nothing happened
I thought. The air was still,
Faintly soot-scented, all here
Was as it had been.
But I had moved –
This was me, alone with my sensations