Homeward Bound

My eyes fill with

the rolling fields of January,

bare, leafless,

colourless almost,

old fort hills and soft muddy farmland



gently unexceptional.

hilltop trees mark

the place you know is home:

tears of recognition,

dotted all over the horizon.


Carved out of one of my favourite poem making techniques: writing a piece of prose (in this case, about the journey home) and then cutting the lines up (literally) and moving them around, with further chopping if necessary, to form the shape, feel and sound of a poem.

Not Yet

Everything is wind at the Solway coast, everything is.

The wind is biting, bitter from the north and everything is bleached, everything is.

Everything is salted with the winter not yet going and the spring not being here.

Not yet.

Everything is not yet.

Everything is cold, everything is biting, everything is bitter.

Everything is bleached with length.

Everything is bitter being.

Everything is.


Everything is not yet springing.

Everything is not yet singing.

Everything is not yet singing even as the skylark sings.

Everything is song of summer, even as the spring not yet.

Everything is spring not yet.

Everything is not yet.

Everything is not.


Even as the skylark sings.

Even as the skylark sings the sky is full of song.

Everything is full of sky and everything is song.

Everything is skylark song.

Even as the skylark sings, everything is spring and even as the spring is singing, everything is summer birds and everything is summer.

Everything is.

Everything is singing.

Everything is singing and everything is song, everything is.

Everything is singing as the skylark sings.

Even as the wind is biting, even as the bitter’s bleaching, even as the skylark’s singing, everything is.


For an audio version of this prose poem, please press the arrow on the box below.

Photography, Gratitude, and Fields of Blue and Green

The weather has been wild recently, with gales and torrential rain.

It’s also been really dark; I know this goes with the territory at this time of year, but the (blessed) absence of snow and ice so far has meant less of the bright light and sunshine-on-snow that I’ve enjoyed over the last two winters.

And less opportunity to take winter wonderland photographs. Continue reading “Photography, Gratitude, and Fields of Blue and Green”

Late Autumn Galloway Photo Walk

I was uploading some photos to Flickr the other day and realised I had a set which captured quite nicely the mood and feel of my favourite local walk (a circuit from the front door, by the edge of the river, to a waterfall, back along by the hedgerows).
I thought you might enjoy a peek into this beautiful corner of the world in the late autumn – when the oaks are still golden, just before the leaves really start to fall. Continue reading “Late Autumn Galloway Photo Walk”

The Flirtatious Landscape

I was writing the other day about the way the universe seems to invite our appreciation, and respond, like a cat arching its back, to that appreciation being shown.

It reminded me of something I read a month or so ago about landscapes flirting with us – sending out signals that demand and invite an appreciative, admiring response.

I can’t now remember where I read this – I’ll need to track back through my recent books borrowed from the library to find it. Unless of course any of you are familiar with this idea, and who might be writing about it? Continue reading “The Flirtatious Landscape”

21 Years in This Dear, Rainy Place I Call Home

I don’t know what it was that triggered the thought, but I realised during the week that is 21 years since I moved to Scotland.

(I can’t remember the exact date, but it was the September / October of 1990).

In those 21 years I’ve lived in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Argyll, Stirling, and now the south west of Scotland.

As those of you who’ve followed my photos over the years will know: the landscapes of Scotland are etched into my heart, soul, and creative inspiration.

I thought I’d do something to mark this imprecise but significant anniversary: for your enjoyment, some thistle photographs, iconic symbol of Scotland. Continue reading “21 Years in This Dear, Rainy Place I Call Home”

Hardly A Breath of Wind

There is hardly a breath of wind.

The day is still, and warm, and it starts to rain as I walk, just a summer mist at first, kissing as I walk.

The hedgerows wave, rich and abundant, in the hardly a breath of wind: bramble flowers showing off with their pinkness and their whiteness, the first raspberries peeking out, wildly raspberry red, not yet ripe but tempting, regardless.

Grasses wave in the hardly a breath of wind while the field of the buttercups teases in a shade I do not know: cream, vanilla, earth, yellow, golden, the colour of a painting, the colour of abundance, the colour of the grasses, dancing on the machair, the colour of this butterfly buttercup field, moving, slowly, in the hardly a breath of wind.

Birds call with the the breath of the wind: oystercatchers flashing down the river, swallows dancing above the grasses in the fields, by the hedgerows rich with clover where the bees buzz and flies sing with the softest breath of summer.

By the river, the rain becomes heavy, torrential, and I shelter for a while beneath the trees. The leaves move gently, not with the hardly a breath of wind, but with the rain, falling splashing kissing, smoothing the warmth of the air and the stillness of the summer’s day, sultry, and still, with hardly a breath of wind.

The Look of Exuberance

Be good-natured and untidy in your exuberance

~ Mary Oliver

I found this quote during the week: happy co-incidence – it fitted so perfectly with a word that has been playing on my own lips as I walk by and notice the unruly, outrageous wildness of the hedgerows in this harvest season.

Exuberance is really the only word for it. Yes: exuberance

an overflowing amount; an outburst; an abundance
Used to describe an exuberance of content of fancy, of foliage, of happiness, of imagination.

Yes: the word is perfect.

And although sometimes I find it hard to capture the look of abundance in the hedgerows, there is something about this time of year that draws your eye in to the detail, to the specificity of the plants, ripening, and the season, turning. It’s a mixture of colour, thickening

Sloe Berries

nuts, swelling

Acorns Forming

fruit, sweetening

seeds, floating

plants, delighting, in their own perfect form.


Truly an exuberance of the imagination.