Donnerin high, in the fitsteps ae Tannahill,

The wind still blawin keen and razor-raw,

Dugs wi their walkers fur passin company,

Ah luk oot ower the hale valley flair.

Hingin abuin Ime, Vorlich, Narnain and Lomond,

Distant cloods wait tae unload their snaw

Oan the toon that sits aneath,

Somewey mair limn than real.


But here, hidden by a shaw ae thicket and thoarn,

A crag, shattered and mirled,

Fae whaur ma fingers prise slivert shards

Ae haurdened antediluvian glaur,

And reveal, tae the first leevin boady tae see,

Twinty mile or mair fae the hurlin waves,

A shell, whaur nane should be.


Ah feel the wecht ae time press doon,

And each day shoarter than the yins afore.

(First published in The Smeddum Test, an anthology of modern Scots poetry, 2013)



irvine beach

The loch is oan fire.

A reek lifts and curls,

As vapour, whipped in frantic whorls,

Cairries sea tae sky,

Leavin ahin bilin suds

And a rauchled tilt ae boats

Draggin their anchor.


Inside, the hoose shudders and booms,

And the dug coories in close,

Listenin, wide-eyed lik me, tae

The crack and bluster ae club-fitted men

Racin widden barras

Through the eaves an shingles.


The world is fractured and flyin.

But, acroass the Sound, oan Raasay,

Where the deid huv been seen alive

Amongst the birks and gables,

Time, the deer, stauns, wi heid high

Full-oan tae the wind,






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