As signals are drawn
far up aloft
take note take heed

As towers rear
their sombre heads
miles up into the sky
hatches are battened down

Torrential rain
Clattering ice
Electrical forks
A sweeping funnel

The sun breaks forth
A rainbow spans
across the back
of the receding storm

Short story

The white owl quartered the river valley. Alighting on the fence post, the bird surveyed its domain, which was bordered in the distance by the sea. The blazing sunset was lost on the owl, which was more interested in the voles and other small creatures that scurried in the field. But the colours were noticed by the people in the village down below. Two lights started to wink in the distance out at sea, not quite synchronously, as darkness descended from the east. The hills faded into the night around, with only the distant thunder of the Atlantic swell a sign of continuity. A shadow emerged from the heights above, striding rapidly towards the houses. Their homely lights were beckoning, and it would not be long before the walker would reach theirs...

The falling darkness hid the features of the walker, who had appeared out of the moorland beyond. As the moon rose from behind the hill, it illuminated the patterns of the land, and reflected from the freshwater lakes that scattered inland from the coast. Jumping across one rivulet after another, from heathery tussock to rocky outcrop, progress was surprisingly quick. A quick clattering of hooves indicated a group of sheep dispersing in quick terror across the rocks of the falling land. To the right of the downward slope, evening windows lit up in a lone homestead, and it was there that the walker now veered his course. His passage through the upland moors, with its sandy soils, heather and spaghnum mosses was evident on him. Too evident. Although the sheep had run off, the occasional clattering of hooves that had marked their flight remained in close proximity...

The house beneath the hill was quiet, its occupants preparing to close the day. Their animals too were settling down for the night, with the sheep grazing in the fields and adjacent moorland. The stream gurgled softly as it ran down the hill in amongst rocks and pools. An occasional bleat from a sheep broke the silence from time to time, as did the soft cackling from the chickens by their coop. The door opened, allowing a beam of light to stream out for a second, before it was cut off as the girl strode out to the enclosure that held the chickens. For a moment, she looked around, at the familiar sight of the lighthouses and the villages near the shore. The moon, now floating above the hill, illuminated the tranquil scene. A pencil stripe of crimson red faded to the west as a cool breeze sighed in amongst the bulrushes. It was to be the last time she would behold that scene in life.

The white owl quartered over the slopes adjoining the river valley. Its silent flight was only noticeable in the faint light of the moon, as it scanned for the slightest motion in the grass below. It swooped low over fields near the house where the girl was tending to her chickens. Their low chuckles and sounds indicating they were ready to go into their coop for the night, into safety. As the girl closed the latch, she became aware of a movement under the moon. At first, she thought it was a sheep, with its hooves clattering slightly on the rocks nearby. But then, a shadow larger than a sheep loomed up beside the chickens' enclosure.

The house door opened, to let a stream of light fall out, streaming across the yard to the chicken coop and enclosures for other animals. There was absolute silence, but a white owl swooped low, only to immediately disappear from view. For a split second, the girl could be seen, in the arms of a handsome youth. She gazed admiringly, hypnotised into his eyes. Failing to notice - the sand, seaweed and spaghnum moss in his hair. Failing to notice - his malformed feet, like hooves. Another split second later and the image was gone. The clatter of hooves quickly faded into the distance. The owl screeched from its fence post, but the screech was taken over from a distance and took on a harrowing, blood curdling aspect as it rose in pitch to an unbelievable height, beyond the range of human hearing. The silence returned, assuming a deafening aspect.

The lighthouses blinked, now synchronously for a moment. Nothing stirred, and no response could be obtained from outside the house. The moon shone brightly, but revealed nothing. The darkness was pervasive.

"It is now six minutes to one, this is the news for the Highlands and Islands, good afternoon. Emergency services are continuing to comb the countryside in the area of the Western Isles where a teenage girl inexplicably went missing at around 9 o'clock last night. Local inquiries have yielded nothing, and neither was she spotted on any of the early morning ferries to the mainland..."

Well, if the good folks on the Atlantic shores had kept their eyes peeled, they would have found what they were looking for. I can't remember the name of the specific loch, but the kelpie and his girl can be seen every evening, in the water there, when the two lighthouses coincide and the owl swoops the river valley...

Change is afoot

The flags are flying
The notice is out
Criss crossing
the summer sky

Icy plumes aloft
drawn by invisible hands
write a message
summer will recede for now

No electric storms
for these islands
not likely, at least
it's not winter for one

The last summer thunderstorm
blasted a tornado
through the streets
of our town

Toppling cars and trees
damaging roofs
before vanishing in the moor
beyond the Laxdale River

The flags are flying
The notice is out
Change is afoot
We'll soon know how

Reflective dusk

the ship of light
sails across
the southern sky

The lighthouse
the empty sea

Its inversion
in slow undulation
on the surface
of the unruffled sea

The light fades west
the darkness rises
from the east
until the dawn returns

Summer dusk

A blanket lies over the nearby hills
The moon, like a lantern up aloft
lights up the falling night
A summer's day comes to a close

A warm southwest wind

A warm southwest wind
blows across
the wide open space
of the Atlantic

A warm southwest wind
and caresses
before moving northeast

A warm southwest wind
passes and lifts
the clouds
swept along on its voice

A warm southwest wind
reveals the summer sun
shining on the
Atlantic coast

A warm southwest wind
carries a message
from the fringe of the ocean
on a high summer's day


Fading into darkness
the relentlessness
of the Hebridean
Atlantic wind


Low grey clouds
in endless streets
scudding along
beyond the darkening

With no light
only the primordial audio
of the uncaring wind remains
blowing us towards a new day

Broad sweeps the wind

Broad sweeps the wind
from the ocean
over the littoral
of cowering houses

Broad sweeps the wind
from miles and miles away
beyond the fringes
of humanity

Broad sweeps the wind
across the heaving
backs of the cresting waves

Broad sweeps the wind
barely noticing
the humps
of these islands

Broad sweeps the wind
ever onward
unminding uncaring
of our little lives

Broad sweeps the wind
in daylight
or the short darkness
of the post solstice night

Broad sweeps the wind
and will keep on blowing
long after we
have morphed into its air

Darkness falls

Darkness falls
a minute or two earlier
a blanket of grey
drawn in from the west

The lights go on
winking reassuringly
for those continuing
into the night

In four hours time
light will be back
on wings
of Atlantic gloom