Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Lost At Sea

Today I got a first proper view of what my new pamphlet with Roncadora Press is going to look like.  And it's entirely beautiful, thanks to the skill and artistry of Hugh Bryden.  It's 4 metres long, folded into zig-zags, with the skyline of Shetland running right through it, and the poems 'floating' in the shifting sea. 

The sea really looks as if it's shifting and has light glancing off it, due to the aforementioned artistry.  This photo is just a wee bit like it.  Hugh has done less sky and much more sea.  But the linear feel is about right.  It's off to the printers next week. 

Coincidentally I came home from work to find a copy of 'New Shetlander' on the kitchen table, sent because they've kindly published two of the poems which will be in 'Lost At Sea'.  Here's one of them.


Dark wood polished by use and damaged
down one side, it’s been
familiar to my touch since childhood.
He must have known its balance
intimately, weighed it in decisions,
fingered the fine milled edges of its eye.
All through his grainy, deck-tilt years
he shut it safe away.   

I learned to tweak with a fingernail
the tiny pin on the metal shutter
which slides back to reveal  
the eyepiece just as
I’m pulling on the casing, shlunck
shlunck, and this
neat cubit passes me
the vision of a sea eagle.

Far back through the glass
a wide grey sea and slant
of rain, a rig of swaying furrows,
medallions of salt, each stamped
by some small imperfection on the lens,
a whorl and ripple that lays
a long century
between my eye and his.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Snow, light, different days

It snowed again last Monday night, and on Tuesday morning 4 inches of snow creaked underfoot in temperatures of around minus 6.  The outdoor thermometer is read in a slightly approximate way by our household, because it blows away so often.  Still, it was obviously a very cold morning. 

We worked from home, and gave the boys a Snow Day.  Sledging and snow fighting were partaken of, though the snow was too cold and feathery to make good snowballs. The boys came in glittering with it.

Snow makes the world new.  It's so bright, in a dark month. It didn't last.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Sign of Summer

As this crab apple shed its leaves, the first bird's nest to be built in the trees we planted here 8 years ago has emerged.

I took the camera out early this morning when I let out the hens and fed the sheep.  It was minus 3, snow still lying.  The garden pond is solid, and the lochans below us frozen right across.  There's a young blackbird haunting the haybarn.  I'm not quite sure if it's ok, or just the cold is making it tamer than it would be.  It sits on the beams and watches me fill haynets.