old pasture fence, kinloch rannoch (not deeside) , april 2010
letter from deeside, march 12.
in the backseat of a car rolling through deeside
the air is shocked with starlings; across the field
rooks peck away in the melting, & i will that
distance to melt, bring you here reeling beside me.
i want us to be the earth that piled the stones
here, in long crumbling fences dreamed
up between the roots, the yearly remembering &
forgetting held in the rings of trees;
i want to walk with you in those peripheries
beyond the edge of the fields, into the margins
of this country, among the soft yellowed bones
of sleeping grasses and the tea-coloured burn;
where the land is the same colour as spring
where we come from, the place where you are
now & the place that is ours & no longer
as we remember, shifting like a solar glory
over the peaks of our peregrinations, on
the river like sun-beaten copper, weaving
between the bare birches & overflowing
the trembling spring sands of the bank.
sometimes i just want the stillness that
can never be, for it’s too much an ache,
this passerine life: never perching anywhere
long, perpetual migration between continents—
but in the backseat of a car rolling through
deeside i suddenly felt you near me, curling
around gently my fingers like the soft claws
of a bird, wings shaking out breath:
& i felt then a nearness i never imagined,
& i felt myself touch with your own hands.