Midday mist

Tantalising glimpses
from the swirling mist
coming and going
with the shrouds of fog

The Atlantic is back
drawing a blanket
of mild dampness
over our isles

Your voice haunts me
evoking the spirit
of these magic
corners of the Hebrides

The sun glances
through the midday murk
warming the humid air
as it carries you to me

Winter recedes

A blanket of cloud
is drawn across the sky
to just block out
the sun for today

The tide is out
the rocks protrude
the link is postponed
until the water returns

To the south
the sun still shines
if not actually
in the sky

The bees now buzz
over the bare machair
chased by the playful
and the newly appeared

Nights will be warmer
as winter recedes
the lambs will now soon come
lured by your voice

In the sun

A haunting voice
A golden smile
Quick at the
turn of a word

On the edge
of the west
in the house
of the garden

Where mousers
chase voles
in the grass
not to become more

Will my feline friends
of years gone by,
those found along the road
of this old town

Will my music
and words
bring out
the sun?

Sparrow - hawk

A sunny day
A flutter of tiny wings
Squabbling over
some seeds

Sunning themselves
In the safety
of the high hedge
in the winter sun

Rapid wings
cruel talons
snapped one
little life away

The sea gives

The sea gives
the sea takes
For its bounty
a price is paid

Those going out
on the watery main
making a living
from the deep

Knowing full well
the danger that
in the waves

It may strike
without warning
but never

The price was paid
once more this week
The sea gives
The sea takes

The island of heather

A sea of brown
to the horizon

A low sun
the green wavelets

Dark looms
from afar
another shore

A shore
over land
a boundary

A ribbon of blue
bisects the ocean
in land

Plenty of water
but not
as one

Not until
it all flows
down to the sea

A sea of brown
the island
of heather

Holm Point

A single
white line
feathering out
in the distance

Leads south
to an airport
way beyond
our coasts

The sun paints
a blinding line
across the surface
of the waveless sea

The Minch nibbles
at our shores
like a faithful dog
at the door

The old bronze spike
hides the reef
and stands guard
over Iolaire's grave

That night was wild
The reef invisible
The waves too powerful
The shore too high and steep

But beguiling as today
at Holm Point it was
the echo and the memory
of that night of sorrow

haunts the shores
where the memorial stands
where over two hundred were lost
whom no one will forget

Winter winds

Marching steadily north
short lines of
dark wavelets
running up the sea

Strong winds
by anything
in their path

Blowing straight
through you
and out
the other side

Not bothering
to go round
to left
or right

Clouds blown
away as is
the mist and murk
of recent days

Winter is not gone
it's taunting us
with bright sunshine
but bitter winds

Spring is teasing us
from a month away
giving us lambs
in colourless fields

Don't be fooled
we ain't there yet
Orion still graces
the night sky

And until the Hunter
with his faithful
hounds in tow

Until we reach
when winter's hold
is finally broken

Changing hues

Never a dull moment
however dull the weather
hues of grey
dictated by distance

No colours
just mist
the dark winter hues
of brown of green

Obscured by
Hebridean drizzle
Russet remnants
of bracken on the hills

Hey what's this?
Aeolius turning the switch
chasing the clouds
to above the hills

Clarity returns
the spectrum of colour
widens to normal
Visibility restored

Spring is coming

Once more the tide falls low
collecting shellfish
where boats
sailed earlier

The afternoons now light
the mornings drawing out
the first lamb appears
and the buds now swell

The snow still falls
in the higher places
Can it be true
Is winter's end nigh

Well some way yet to go
Another six weeks
And days will be
as long as nights again

The cold winds will taunt us
but with our eyes firmly fixed
on the southern horizon
spring is now within our grasp

A lazy cloud

Saturday morning
it's been a hard week
lots of scudding about
lots of rain has been dumped

Having a lie in
The wind is late this morning
So am draping down over the hills
right down to sealevel

Let's not do anything today
Just sit over this harbour
Swaddle the airport

Nothing can move
Nothing can be seen
Tease them down below
Lift for a while

Come back down
Can't see a thing
Dense fog
We're in a lazy cloud today

Up or down

Is up down
or down up
No way to tell
windless day

The houses march
but are they up
or down
along the street

The boat on the quay
is it down
or rather up
no ripple to tell tales

The distant hills
rising up
or bowing down
Fata morgana

a breath of wind
a boat's wake
Now you can tell

The day is a lighthouse

The day is a lighthouse
with a slow aspect
operating in intervals of minutes
rather than seconds

Hail turning to snow
propelled by the Atlantic gale
visibility nil
face iceblasted

Angry riders
marching up the harbour
fifty foot waves
slamming into the cliffs

Out comes the sun
flashes up the buildings
the caps on the waves
the wall of grey beyond

The wall of grey to the west
marching in from Canada
completes the cycle
The day is a lighthouse

Storm warning

Slowly the light fades
the rain patters on the window
grey all the way round
the wind veers southwest

Calm before the storm
the last ferry ventures out
carrying passengers
from all the islands

The double black and red
will soon fly
over our little town
as winds rise in the night

Hunker down
batten down the hatches
secure everything that's loose
and hold fast...

Winter night

The decrescent moon rides high
in the night sky
the cold creeps down

The wet streets twinkle
ice covers pavements
careful, you'll slip

The moon's obscured
Lights become fuzzed
indeterminate shapes
swirl around

A distant reflection
on the sea nearby
the moon's back out
something has changed

A blanket of white covers
the streets,
and houses

Keeping us warm
in the night
nothing stirs abroad
the town sleeps

The Sunken Cathedral

The grey waves undulate
across the sea
The light of day fades
into the west

Silence reigns
but hark
what's that sound
what's that glow

Listen out
a bell rings
where from
below the sea?

The light grows
the sound increases
until emerging from the deep
it stands before us

Lights blazing
from its many windows
Its bells pealing forth
in unmitigated joy

The Sunken Cathedral
in all its former glory
Risen from the waters
lapping at its door

But look east
a pencil strip of red
The cathedral starts
to fade

Its lights dim
the bells grow distant
as dawn approaches
the edifice recedes

Until nothing remains
above the waters
to remind us of what was
there not long ago

Listen carefully
as the sun rises
over the endless waters
A lone bell tolls

Far below the waves
Mourning the passing
of what once was
and is now

The Sunken Cathedral

[Inspired by Claude Debussy's tone poem "La Cathedral Engloutie"]