Midwinter Skies

The world is so dark

so grey, so gloomy.

Is it possible to write

of beauty, love,

magic, alchemy,


rich, orange,

golden, glowing,


In response,

you paint me skies of midwinter:

soft peachy apricots

a palette of moonlight blues

red gold burning on the galloway skyline

pinks, purples, mauves exploding in a

fever by my door.

You scratch words with barebone branches

‘gainst the canvas of midwinter

asking softly, irresistible:

is it possible not to?

Meanwhile the Wood

I ask question after unanswerable question as I walk.

Old familiar patterns of dead end quests for meaning, patterns, answers, purpose.

The search for a singular purpose

… is it secular or sacred, is it written or is it read, is it big meaning small meaning, is it my work is it teaching, is it worthwhile is it worthless,  is it images or words, is it poetry or prose, is it possible to get a sign just a hint of an answer… Continue reading “Meanwhile the Wood”

Looking in Advent

I have been thinking a fair bit about Advent over the last few weeks.

I used to love Advent as a child. Now I find myself growing increasingly grumpy and cynical in anticipation of the Christmas season, muttering about commercialisation and consumerism and pointless consumption of too much food, drink and stuff.

Without small children around, Christmas loses a lot of its natural magic.

Plus Christmas Eve is the anniversary of my mum’s death, and I know that has shifted and changed my sense of anticipation or looking forward to this time of year, although not necessarily in a negative way (it was a day of exceptional cold, winter sunshine and extraordinary peacefulness that I’m still wonder-ing about). Continue reading “Looking in Advent”


It’s the end of the day, too late for a stone.

I wheel the bin out, ready for the morning. The night is cold, bitter cold, and I’m careful not to slip. Still, something catches my eye and I tip my head back. Look up.

A carpet of stars. The firmament.

Between the trees, the crescent moon, glowing silver white.

It takes my breath away. This late, small stone. This firmament.

Saying Yes to November

yes to the bare bone branches of a cold November morning

yes to the sun just creeping o’er the hill

yes to the pale blue pastels of the sun streaked daybreak

yes to the clouds looming with the promise of the snow

yes to mud in the fields and mud in the boots and mud at the foot of all my clothesyes to the tips of my fingers going numb
yes to driving with gloves on

yes to drinking soup for a heat at lunchtime

yes to the robin waiting hungry by the door

yes to the blackbird crashing noisy in the undergrowth

yes to the berries glowing darkly in the hedgerows

yes to poppy blood remembrance on the days of aching cold

yes to the fog of impossible to see

yes to the call of the geese heading south

yes to the patterns on the nettles on the first full frost of winter

yes to the nights drawing in

yes to the wheel ever turning

yes to harsh cold winter implacably approaching

yes to the sun setting on the fields of Galloway and the sky lit up with gold

yes to mist softly draped round the church in the hollow

yes to the last patch of gold as the oak points skyward

yes to the grace of the trees stripped bare

yes to crows cawing in the silhouette of branches

yes to gothic imagination in the mist filled skies

yes to finger numbing bone aching cold of the mornings

yes to the days that swallow autumn

yes to the gold grey cold grey skies of


Feeding the Birds

It’s a simple ritual.

Breakfast time feeding on a cold winter’s morning.

Tidying, pouring on the altar of the table,

The hungry redbreast who’s there before you’re ready,

The calls, and chirrups, as word gets around,

Birdsong bursting in the cold of the morning,

The echoed call of gratitude in your own sweet heart.

The search for the word for the feeling of the moment:

Holy, your heart says,


The ritual of the morning,

The hymn to creation,

Communion with nature,

Breaking bread with the birds.