March 28th, 2012 Doug
THE GOSPEL ON THE ISLAND
Sometimes they saw wings
in the pages of the Bible
their preacher turned over in the pulpit,
each flow and flutter patterned
with the print of scripture’s verse.
All different sorts of birds.
The gannet and the fulmar.
The slightness of the sparrow, rock-pipet
blown along the shore-front,
rising from that book
to flit across pews
and settle down among them,
make their mouths always hungry
for the sweetness of the word.
March 11th, 2012 Doug
While I was working my way through some notebooks and texts as part of researching for a current project, I picked a book off the shelf on my workbench. The book was ‘Atoms Of Delight’, one of the titles in the excellent Pocketbook series produced by Alec Finlay and Morning Star Publications.
Tucked away in the back cover of the book I found a piece of A4 paper, with a small sequence of hand-written haiku by my dear friend and collaborator, Valerie Gillies. The haiku were for a reading at the opening of an exhibition I was having at the Netherbow in Edinburgh, and brought back many wonderful memories of of our travels along the Tay and journeys through the Scottish Borders.
As a young art student in Dundee in the 1980’s, I was introduced to Valerie, and that meeting led the way to the fantastic journey I have been on in the world of art and poetry. That journey continues on today, and I feel very lucky to be allowed to work with so many talented and creative writers.
I tucked the small piece of paper safely back into it’s book, and I’m looking forward to the next chance uncovering of a fond memory from this wanderer’s voyage.
SEVEN HAIKU OF THE ELEMENTS - a sequence for Douglas Robertson 11th November ‘92
The wanderer’s song:
the sun rises over one ridge
and then another.
* * *
is heavy with one stone
from the island.
* * *
A stormy morning:
the grey clouds are standing still,
the sun zips about.
* * *
On the tower roof
between stone slabs and blue sky
I write, star-brushing.
* * *
Windy this morning:
clouds branch out as they travel along,
creaking like trees.
* * *
Tides bring seawater in
underground to the pot blow-hole,
hiccup of the earth.
* * *
on poles point to the moon:
peer past to see her.
* * *
This flint arrowhead
is a cockerel’s footprint
from the dawn of fire.
March 5th, 2012 Doug
ENCOUNTER WITH A SOAY RAM
He makes even you seem slight and superficial.
I love the way his deep
brown eyes always follow as we scale the steep
slope of the hill,
ensuring that we keep a careful distance
with dip of head and stamp of foot,
making it all too obvious it did not suit
him for us to shift closer with that imperious stance
with he ruled the limits of this island.
Yet there is more to it than this.
I witnessed, too, the vigorous
way he bucked and thrusted; no man
could keep that up so long, so strong.
Clearly top of the tups, he combined that stamina with a gaze
that encompassed life’s experiences. He’d known days
before you or I, our forebears, had belonged
to this world. That knowledge whirled
around his head, as if it were contained
in his great horns; each aeon of this planet’s life engrained
and scored within its semi-circles, whorls ….
Sorry. I know rejection’s hard but, comparing him to you,
I’d like to be one of his flock, his fondest and most faithful ewe …