Force 7

Force 7
the Atlantic
gives us a
clip round the ear

Everything loose
gets blown around
gates swing open
if not fastened shut

Blooms fall
Leaves fly
The calendar says summer
but who cares

Only the mercury
and the hours of daylight
show the season
and its passing

A bullying wind
from the Atlantic
the town sits quietly
amidst the onslaught

Awaiting quieter times
the return of the sun
the going away of the clouds
and the opening of another day

Summer's here

Applecross stoops
not to hit its head
on the blanket of cloud
at two thousand feet

Rolls of cotton wool
in straight lines
by the Atlantic wind

Summer smiles
after a final tease
from winter
this weekend

Tide's rising high
pulled up by
the midsummer

The Stones smile
knowing that
they are for the moon's
long cycle

but benignly
they allow the drum
to be beaten
for the sun

As it descends
down the latitudes
summer rolls in
summer is here


Terror of the neighbourhood
father of many
bearer of wounds
Sixth member of the family

A small black kitten
in the summer of '73
nicked a chicken leg
off the Xmas dinner

Ate what we ate
Slept where we slept
Returned the favour
which jumped for joy in multiples

A meow at night
jumping in through the window
A black shadow
on the bed

The females loved him
One litter
came to visit him
in the garden

Where's Thomas?
Use your nose
He has a wound
and it doesn't smell of roses

One spring he dwindled
from a muscular tom
to almost a kitten
within the space of a week

That Sunday morn
a call behind the curtain
"I'm still here"
but darkness soon came

The light of the Rainbow Bridge
shone under the piano
and he stretched to reach it
that evening, late in May '88

Strider, 1988-2004

Three mice a day
but on a low protein diet
Vet's special food
to be fed by hand

A tiny furball in '88
grew into a handsome cat
his little black cloak
always undone

Like all cats
homing in
on the comfort zone
the warmer the better

Drinking water
drinking water
drinking water
drinking water

Out of the toilet
out of the sink
out of the bowl
with the floating lit candles

Came running
and calling
after a year's absence
by your writer

16 years passed
the fence now too high
to jump over
collected from neighbour's

That night,
the Rainbow Bridge opened
and Strider strode across
in June '04

Solstice is nigh?

Solstice is nigh
though you wouldn't tell
the wind slices
straight through you

From summer
to winter
in a few short nights
it feels like snow

The flowers still bloom
although in shock at the cold
the chicks quickly
turn into birds

Summer will return
it's hiding for now
beyond the rim
of the Atlantic

Gus am bris an Latha

At the dead of night
Death stalked the roads
and claimed one

At the darkest hour
of the night
in the lightest month

Between two blinks
of the eye of

The music faded
and silence ensued
not far from the Temple

Not for long
until the Breaking of the Day
and the Shadows flee away

(RIP Ivan Macdonald)

Window on the East

My window on the East
frames a familiar scene
as it gazes across
the expanse of the Minch

The lighthouse at Arnish
welcomes all comers
and bids farewell
to all that leave

It glances across
to the lonely memorial
to those whose welcome
was never to be

Far to the southeast
stand the lonely heights
of the treeless forest
of Applecross

Lining the old route
to the mainland
where many would go
never to return

To fight in a war
To start a new life
quietly hoping to cast eyes
on the old island again

My window on the East
has seen the changes
as the years go by
but the sea always remains

A dozen miles away
The windows look west
on the eternity
that's the Atlantic

New Window on the West

Looking out west
over the fields
where sheep safely graze

the townships
demurely straddle
the horizon

the curve of white
a haven for birds
not far behind

Faithful and inquisitive
exploring the new lands
where endless catches will be made

Not a shadow of doubt
In the mind of the hunter
that trust is unconditional

From the window on the west
the distant light winks
summer dusk falls

Summer dusk

Summer came
before solstice time
Light but reluctantly
yields to the coming night

Worms turn to chicks
turning fast into birds
wheeling joyfully
in the blue skies

Rippleless seas
make it hard to guess
which way is up
and which is down

Languid clouds
slowly lose colour
as the sun fades
to the northwest

Window of the West

As daylight fades
from Henneth Annun,
the Window of the West,

a dark shadow
jumps in
for a final time

A chapter closes
as memories
packed up

over the hill
to a new chapter

Soon an empty shell
is all that remains
echoing to years gone by

Over the hill
the Window will open
near the machair

Soon to fill up
with blooms
to caress your feet

As you boldly stride
out into glorious sunlight
leaving the shadows behind

Save for the one
whose unquestioning devotion
follows you wherever you go


Quietly the wind strokes
the puffball
a seed drifts
on its inbuilt parachute

Quietly the sun hides
behind but thin clouds
we have summer warmth

the birds chitter
in amongst the bushes
searching to feed their young

Rippleless the sea
in the summer evening

The sun dips
briefly below the horizon
teasing the night
before blazing back up