View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

The circle of peat

Distant summers
Forgotten breezes
Rains long since flowed to sea
The autumns of years

Green growth
Long grass
First yellow
Now brown

Moss capturing moisture
Deepening below
Cracks open in drought
Disappear in wet seasons

The memory of years
cut with the spade
dried over weeks
as the sun rises high

Stacked by the house
prepared for winter
to release warmth
when the cold wind blows

Smelling of springtime
smoke drifts away
the cycle completes
the circle of peat

Tuesday 30 October

Another cold and mainly wet day, looking very grey indeed. Nonetheless, compared to what the eastern USA is having to go through, I'm not going to complain. A ray of sunshine would be welcome, but the only celestial body I see a lot of these days is the moon.

After two days of shopping in the supermarket, trying to dodge empty shelves, MV Muirneag came in at 10 o'clock this morning, carrying loads of supplies. I was asking myself what the reason for the cancellation was, until I spoke to someone who had just come off the ferry, looking a bit green about the gills. In other words, there had been quite a swell running in the Minch.

And I just felt like posting this image of one our cats in his hey-day: Thomas. He went over the Rainbow Bridge in 1988 at the age of 15.

Thomas by Veluweman


Empty windows look out on the yellowed grass
Panes blown out in a forgotten gale
Tiles disappearing from the roof
But no one is caring

The ocean thunders onto distant cliffs
A moving wreath around the western coast
An army of white riders incessantly
assail the crumbling fortress that is shore

Sagging poles carry rusting wire
No longer delineating the patch
of infertile, poor, unsustaining ground
where once cattle and sheep grazed

The door has gone, a void beyond
Another frame behind, also unshuttered
Countless rocks from the empire of
sonte, yet choked with rocks the ground remains

Walls stand up, bewildered now that
the roof has vanished, perhaps
a beam remains, collapsed into
the ruin below

A squall blows in, the scene darkens
no shelter here, in the old dwelling
an echo of years gone by
left as an in memoriam

Fled the yoke of the man in the castle
his cruel minions who cared not
to improve the lives of those
he was in charge of caring for

A distant gun echoes, multiplying the life it took
by countless millions, including
those who answered the call
from the humble abodes out here

Now crumbling slowly, remembering
the golden days of long sunshine and warmth
laughter, singing, merry-making
love, kinship and bonds

Some crossed the seas for better lives
Never to return tto the humble home
Looking down to the shoreline below
Remembering all who departed