The walk


A walk is no walk unless it’s uphill

I console myself

panting up the slope behind the farm.

The big snow of a month past

has vanished from the fields

but lies here yet

and has seen sporadic supplements

the last few nights.

But I am unprepared for the plateau

where the snow is hard

blown deep against the rocks

but clearing from the tips of heather stems

to reveal a kind a tweedy fabric.

The sun is bright

– an icy westerly freezes my brain-

but the air lurks in my nostrils

like a chilled dry white wine

with memoried fragrances

that do not exist

in this frozen waste

where the snow glisters with countless crystals,

ice gleams with surface melt

scoops and curls and tendrils of deeper snow

remind me how winter shows the purer forms.

On the north side

drifts freeze hard

creating causeways

for the easiest walking

over feet deep snowhard path

Rocks hold coatings of wind-drift.


I meet my father’s ghost here

above the dry loch

that resembles a glacier

creeping downhill to Newtonmore.

For a moment I seek a second shadow.

Seeing the clouds appear

I turn home early,

wanting to make the return in sunshine.

Gulleys on the south side

run like silver fire

trapped air and water collude in moving

beneath melting ice,

a hare runs towards a ridge

white and white.

Perhaps I turned back too soon?

the sun is shining still,

and I am smiling

punching time on paradise.


What a world that holds the like!