Looking out from the end of our garden, here in the South Rhins of Galloway, I am blessed, on a clear day, to see the unmistakeable great sculpted granite form of Cairnsmore, away across Luce Bay. When I was little we would often, on the weekend, go from home in Newton Stewart to Mochrum, and I would spend many wonderful hours exploring my cousins farmyard. My Grampa and I would often walk up the lane towards Elrig with Nell, one of the working collies on a leash. One time they’d newly painted one of the byre roofs silver and I secretly found some pebbles sprayed with the paint…treasures of far less worth than the memories they conjure. This is a poem celebrating remembered joys of childhood’s treasures…
Silently gliding through the frosted dawn,
above the muted moss and sleepy rattling of the reeds,
a trailing skein of Greylags comes off Elrig meadow,
over lichened dyke and rambling thorn.
Almost indistinguishable from the sky,
the wide sea before them,
horizon soft on the great unfettered space.
Amber light shafts flood the fluttering treetops,
melting crystals into glistening dew,
heightening all the colours of the morn.
Here I am once more, in my heart;
returned by currents sweep, holding time,
as I stoop to touch – to know it’s real –
the trinkling burn that chills about my feet.
Again to walk the lane in Wood of Cree, recalling,
distant childhood games and faces gone.
A cloudless sky, high domed above me, hearing
Grampa’s voice, as if he were still calling,
“Come by, Nell, come by!”
I see him there – our Sunday walk restored;
The binder twine leash stretching from his sun flecked hand.
By Boghouse Farm – where silvered stones,
beneath the shining, painted byre I found;
my small fingers later checking for my hidden treasure,
homeward bound, as day slipped past
to evenings lengthening shadows.
Silver etchings on the slate grey sky,
where fading light breaks through.
Cairnsmore’s great granite shoulder – sunset lit,
rough bone of rock exposed in places from the turf.
Evening, like some wildly thrown tapestry;
Greys and blues and gold, in greens of stone and leaf and blade,
Sleepily I take it all home, these treasures –
Sky above silvered with feathers of fernlike light;
silvered, like my treasured stones.