Category Archives: time

Ventifact

Not owning a property, I don’t own a fence or a wall.  I’m not sure that is the reason, but I suppose it could in part  be why posts seem to have become a minor theme for me. Or it could be just be that, in a populous and long-cultivated island like Britain, lines and boundaries, old and new, are so plentiful as to be unavoidable. You are always bumping into the edge of someone else’s definition of something. 

In places that generally feel quite wild for the drawing of lines on the land, posts of one sort or another – wood, stone, metal – are generally hard to avoid. In the hills – even (or the perhaps especially) when wires are long gone, old fenceposts are often handy waymarks for walkers – especially in fog or snow. At any rate I seem to have become attached to some of them, and developed needs to tap, listen to their sounds, and daydream a little about their stories…

Ventifact

High up, near the drystane shelter
between Leacach and Maol
by the ridge dyke, by iron spikes –
once I was an older fence of wood.

Wind beat time and ice and rain
and drummed norther posts
down to the final nubs
of outsized Argos pencils.

I retain my tensioned form –
grain-split twisting sinuosity,
a lime-dried wrist upthrust
wire-clench tight, though

not to punch. To punctuate.
Sculpted dot on a broken line.
Air’s song is what it moves –
I am an artefact of invisibles.

I am dictation. I am a note.

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Other post posts…

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a tree speaks

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a large beech tree

a tree speaks is a short film poem.

The poem is one that I wrote back in 2017 when I was working on a collaboration with artist Tansy Lee Moir.

Now felt like a good time to rework some text animation that I made for a projection back then into a proper film poem. You can see the result below… (sound on is best)

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Sea symphonies

I’m delighted to have a poem (and some artwork) included as an ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Issue 5 of Consilience, the journal of poetry and science.

The theme of issue 5 was Rhythm and my poem is about remarkable research by researchers from the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews studying the songs of humpback whales in the South Pacific.

There is also a reading in the Consilience podcast.

See https://www.consilience-journal.com/issue-5

more about the background to this poem


To Dundee FC early 1900s

Pleased that my eccentric wee poem ‘To Dundee FC early 1900s’ found a spot in POETRY SCOTLAND‘s sheet for ne’er-do-wells and troublemakers ‘Gallus’ (Scots: bold, cheeky or flashy) – about the right place for it, I suspect!

Not so much a football item really, maybe more of a photography or a time-travel poem. Trouble indeed…


Sidelong

First photographic portrait image of a human produced in America.
“Robert Cornelius, head-and-shoulders self-portrait, facing front, with arms crossed”, approximate quarter plate daguerreotype, 1839 [Oct. or Nov.]. LC-USZC4-5001 DLC United States Library of Congress
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Sidelong

Robert Cornelius remains skeptical.
He does not trust that it will work,
or that a specific future develops
when this image will be visible.

He does not pause to comb his hair
or consider us, but guards himself
against the possible exposure,
against the theft, of unmarshalled spirit.

Slow counting silent hesitation,
he glances sidelong from 1839,
doubtful of our existence,
his focus on what he next intends.

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