Retirement

I am at home in the wilderness

watching the town’s bustle from distant

vantage points beyond fellowship’s reach.

The tracery of forgotten streams

curves around me with a soft comfort,

heated by the indifferent sun.

Warm rising air lifts the outstretched wings

as, head still, the hawk watches, cold-eyed,

ready to pursue his dark ethic –

kill or starve. Here, sheltered from the truth

of connection, from love’s sand paper,

I can hover, cladded by stillness.

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Day break

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The days fall to foam, some crashing

in exuberance on the wind swept strand,

some subsiding limply in cold solitude.

They leave a scum-line,

a heap of fly blown seaweed

or lethal discards of plastic,

and the leavings are scavenged by

the thoughtless energy of life.

Their journey across the unknown,

moon-struck, stirred by strange currents,

comes only to this evaporation.

Foinavon

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It stands entire against

all the rage of history.

The winds hurl across

the unresisting seas,

sweeping clear the barren peat lands,

then crash, bewildered into

this complacent monster.

Below, Arkle waits for a turn

in the limelight.

It listens to the hidden

disintegration of shale

as Foinavon succumbs,

where tempests cannot reach,

to the relentless patience of Time.

Grasslands

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  There is a drained look about them   

in the casual buffeting of the wind.

Death paints their nails a dry yellow

and they bow to indifference.

They are at home in the grey skies

of empty bypassed landscapes.

I look down on them from my world

and paint them with my palate.

Unseen, the mouse sleeps, the spider

creates its drama, new birth

scurries and an empire is built.

Sutherland

The summer light casts its net

over the fading days

and time glides by, carried by winds

across bog peat and orchid.

The cuckoo’s pure notes float

for miles in silent pauses

as the world catches its breath.

The stop-start of man’s haste

down strips of road echoes

the ancient pattern of moor and rock –

flat unresisting planes colliding

with stubborn mountain blocks,

standing alone in a timescale

of geology and star.

I shrink with sheep and wheatear,

with midge and mistle thrush,

with thrift blooming on the cliff edge,

to the beat of a feather

against the Atlantic furies,

to the blink of an eye

against the spin of the earth’s core.

Love, Time and Death

Love, Time and Death;

not enough if the falling apple

is to be grasped;

if the watching eye is to grapple

with Time’s story;

if the destructive wounds of disease

are to be healed;

if the Winter’s storms and Summer’s breeze

can make poems.

Life stirs in the arguments of creation

not in the passive pools of contemplation.

And so, Love, we must fight,

we must reason Time to a standstill

and look through Death

and demand he bows before the ‘Now’ of creation.

 

From the film, ‘Collateral Beauty’