Calum’s door is always open on a sunny day,
his dark wee house faces south
but the small windows deny him the benefit.
Announcing myself with a shout
I enter briefly but it is more congenial
enjoying the bright evening on the step,
all the sweeter for the forecast of storms.
From here we study the sunlit valley below us,
where one of Scotland’s great rivers
has yet to find its power and meanders
sleepily through farmland and marsh
like a teenager.
We review the new broadband signal from the hill,
all the while conscious of the signal
being broadcast by the stag below the wood,
now with a harem of upward of a dozen hinds
and a possible rival further along the riverbank.
I take my leave of my valued neighbour
and follow the dog out to the open hill.
The light is failing and a halfmoon appears:
once again it is the time the world changes
from manifest to half-seen:
and a shot cracks the quiet.
The Nog grovels, gripped by gunshyness,
a stag has died.
I listen longer
and pick up the groaning serenade once more.
Catching the Nog to the lead for reassurance
alert to the ironies
of his boastful clarion.