The Highland Cottage
Defiant speck of white in this immensity,
proudly enduring, against all odds.
Surrounded by wild beauty and desolation,
resisting the weighty heavens
and the ignorant dark.
The brooding past is always close,
a lingering legacy in the ceaseless rain.
Two tattered, air-whipped rowans,
remain on duty before a flaking door
considering their memories, and pain.
The land is infused with prompts and clues
unseen by most who reach this place,
The white rose sheltering by the crumbling wall
perhaps the most tangible hint
for those who read the sign.
Summer sparkled in Glenfiddich.
You were an insolent ten,
with a laugh that skipped
through breeze-rippled alders,
warm winds caressing the air.
Pale hair-strands floated, free,
danced to the river’s drone.
It’s pibroch smooth in memory,
water-washed as the round,
white boulders you grew among.
The footbridge, wooden, silvered,
clad in blue-green lichen,
cast a dark shadow over the gurgling ford.
You knelt in the sun’s sharp dazzle,
plucking the yellow flowers with care.
Your scowl captured in a shutter-click.
Breath of Dragons
The pumping throb of currents
races over rugged seas
of rank, dank heather.
Powerful, probing storms
swirl and rush,
grazing grey crags
where lurking eagles slide.
Moist and tantalizing fragrances
swirl beneath brooding skies,
caressing russet hill-sides.
The breaths of western dragons
swoop and soar;
mountain flanks teased,
lashed with life’s moist kisses.
Her pale hand lifted through shafts
of summer light to graze my cheek.
‘You are like your father, you have his eyes.’
A silent, glinting tear gathered
in helpless, sighed acceptance.
Raw words tumbled from her heartache.
‘He’d want you to have it.’
The jacket was a perfect fit.
I could hear his whisky-breath,
smell his rasping whisper,
his obstinate truth,
‘I am like my father.’
His wraith-eyed smile meandering
through sepia memories
caressed the child I was.
Death on the Beach
Wind’s teeth tear at the sky,
rip the warmth from the day.
Pounding breakers bludgeon
Culbin’s shifting sands,
stalking her exposed northern shore.
Undermined dunes collapse
into churning salt-water chaos,
trees totter on the crumbling edge,
fated to join the salt-whitened bones
of kin as they lie strewn
on the kissed-clean strand.
Some endure, pointing skywards
like warning eldritch fingers.
Grey seals, insulated in strange,
accept that death is inevitable
and sprawl at this wounded edge
unassailable in their icy isolation.
Vague signals posted on whispers,
in gathering gloom the sea wakes
to the keening of a wheeling gull.
Her skin wind-roughens through moments,
massive swells restraining coiled menace.
The grumble of her growing awareness
beach-rumbling with the incoming tide.
Shingle grates and rattles
as she surges, deep and green.
Indistinct grainy hills lurk
in the low shrouds of distance.
Salt air grows heavy,
invasive scatterings of chameleon grey
smudge blue-sky’s early sparkle.
Rumours soar on dream-raked air,
sliding, rapture-teasing vibrations.
Anticipation whistles on the wind,
the freshness of excitement’s edge.
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